Welcome to the first round-up of the Hull City rumours this summer!
There are bound to be many players linked with City this summer - some more likely than others - and I'll round up the best Tigers related gossip weekly. As always, you can use the "Transfer Rumours" link at the top of the blog to see every player linked with City since February and even a few ex-Tigers on the move.
|Pic: Reading FC|
Friday 3rd June 2016
Hull City have held talks with the representatives of Reading midfielder Oliver Norwood according to the Reading Chronicle. The Manchester United youth product joined the Royals from Huddersfield in 2014 for a “significant fee” and the Chronicle speculates that a fee of at least £1.5m will be required to buy the Northern Ireland international. Norwood’s hometown club, Burnley, and Celtic are said to be tracking him also.
Thursday 2nd June 2016
The Tigers announced their retained list for the upcoming season. Sone Aluko and Ryan Taylor have been released by the club and I presume Calaum Jahraldo-Martin either has been too or has agreed a deal to stay at Leyton Orient because the statement didn’t mention him. Tom Huddlestone and Ahmed Elmohamady have been offered new contracts while Eldin Jakupovic will stay after the club activated the one-year extension on his contract.
Taylor joined City last summer after being freed by Newcastle and while his well-documented injury problems were a worry, he stayed injury free but still failed to make any impact on the first team. He managed just one league start, on the opening day of the season, but slotted in to the second string side generally wheeled out for cup games. He’s a good guy who deserves a bit of luck in his career but he’ll go down as one of the more pointless City signings.
Aluko came on a free transfer in 2012 after Rangers collapsed financially and for six months looked likely to go down in Tigers’ folklore. In that first half of the 2012/13 season, there wasn’t a better player in the league. He scored memorable goals against Millwall and Wolves and finished a beautiful team move at Bristol City. His best performance came at one of his former clubs as he scored twice and generally ripped the Birmingham defence to shreds in a 3-2 victory (after City had raced into a 3-0 lead inside 30 mins). He was the catalyst for a free-scoring City team put together on a budget by Steve Bruce – who’d managed Sone as a kid at Birmingham.
Sadly, Aluko suffered with injury and only played a handful of games after the St Andrews demolition and though City were promoted, it was based on a tight defence because the goals dried up. Aluko returned for the Premier League season and scored his best goal for City with a stupendous volley in a 3-2 in at Newcastle but he was injured at Everton by a disgusting challenge from Gareth Barry, when Sone had been having a storming game, and never found the same form on his return. He’s spent two and a half seasons trying and failing to recapture the magic but it hasn’t really happened for him.
Aluko did appear in the 2014 FA Cup Final as a substitute, which will etch his name in City’s history, and should really have bagged an equaliser to force a penalty shoot-out. What a moment that would have been. Instead he was reduced to occasional moments of importance, the winning goal against AS Trencin in the Europa League, a fine equaliser at Everton in the Premier League and goals against Fulham and Forest, one a winner, the other an equaliser, that were almost crucial this season.
It’s obviously the end of the road for Aluko who needs to go and play regular football when he’s clearly not going to get it for City in the Premier League. He leaves behind some great memories but the sense of disappointment that he never reached his potential in black and amber.
Wednesday 1st June 2016
According to ESPN, City have “won the race” to sign AFC Wimbledon for 17-year old goalkeeper Will Mannion. They claim that Stoke and Liverpool are amongst the teams interested in the stopper who has recently trained with the England U18 squad. As well as the investment in local youngsters coming through the club’s academy, City have been busy scouting, particularly in the South, for talent to add to Tony Pennock’s U21 side and if Mannion is signed, he’ll add to the likes of Jahraldo-Martin, Greg Luer, Johan Ter Horst, Adam Curry and Jarrod Bowen who have been bought in for little outlay from lower league and non-league clubs.
Tuesday May 31st 2016
If you thought Chelsea and Barcelona being linked with ex-Tiger Hatem Ben Arfa was ridiculous – wait for this one. The Glasgow Evening Times suggests Celtic and Rangers are ready to battle for former City loanee Danny Graham, who is about to be released by Sunderland. At least Ben Arfa has appeared revatalised by his move to Nice. Graham, who has managed 15 goals in three and a half years since his £5m move to Sunderland (just one for the black cats and only one for City), looks the same shell of a player he always appeared in black and amber.
Monday 30th May 2016
Sheffield Wednesday and Ireland ‘keeper Keiren Westwood is a target for four Premier League clubs according to the Daily Mail. Our fellow newly promoted side Middlesbrough are strongly linked with The Tigers, Everton and WBA credited with an interest in the 31-year-old who they say will command a transfer fee of £3m.
The Daily Mail also carried quotes that poor cold water on any link between Robert Snodgrass and Celtic. Snodgrass spoke of City’s “terrific” supporters and his “brilliant” teammates and said he has “loved every second” of being at Hull City.