Huddersfield Town’s relegation from the Premier League isn’t yet mathematically confirmed, but it becomes more of an inevitability with each passing week. Barring a miraculous escape, the Terriers will be playing Championship football again next season.
David Wagner first led the Yorkshire club to promotion from the second tier in 2017. That season they finished fifth in the Championship and came up via the play-offs. In all honesty, they were a mid-table Championship club who were carried into the top flight on a purple patch. That makes the fact that Wagner kept them in the Premier League in that first season all the more incredible.
Now, though, reality is catching up with the Terriers and the drop is imminent for Jan Siewert’s side.
However, that doesn’t mean that they should resign themselves to a return to Championship mid-table finishes. Huddersfield have grown as a club in the top flight and if they can act smartly now then they’ll give themselves a great platform to build another promotion push on.
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The Terriers’ big problem this season has been scoring goals. The likes of Steve Mounie and Laurent Depoitre simply haven’t delivered enough (or anything at all really) in the final third. They may fare a bit better in the Championship, but in truth their quality must be questioned.
Siewert’s top target this summer must be a reliable goalscorer who can be prolific in the Championship. Without that Huddersfield stand no chance of coming back up.
On top of that, the Terriers must also find extra quality in the wide areas. Elias Kachunga and Isaac Mbenza don’t offer enough in terms of end product or creativity.
As with any side that are relegated, their top talents are going to be considered to be up for grabs. Huddersfield must do all they can to hold on to their best players.
The Terriers actually have a very decent Championship-level spine to their team – at least until you reach the strikers. The likes of Terence Kongolo, Christopher Schindler and Zanka are all solid and at a good age. On top of that, Aaron Mooy, Philip Billing and Alex Pritchard all represent real quality in the middle of the park.
Some other Premier League clubs are likely to be interested in Mooy and Billing, which could force Huddersfield Town into selling. If that does happen, then Siewert must ensure that their attributes and qualities are effectively replaced at the John Smith’s Stadium.
As with who they want to bring in, Huddersfield should already have clear idea of who is their priority to retain and who they can afford to cash in on.
Assuming Huddersfield are relegated, some key departures this summer are inevitable. However, by making every effort to negotiate favourable contracts with their players, the Terriers can ensure that they extract maximum value from every sale.
As things stand, Erik Durm, Depoitre and Danny Williams are all set to see their contracts expire this summer. Meanwhile, the likes of Jonathan Hogg, Zanka, Mooy and Billing, amongst others, only have one year left to run on their current deals. Even if Siewert is happy to see some of these players go, it should be the club’s utmost priority to get them to sign new terms so that they can capitalise on their full market value when sales are made.
Failure to manage these contract situations effectively could see the club miss out in a big way this summer by losing some of their key players and being left with very little to show for it.
By putting these plans into action now, and making key decisions early, Huddersfield give themselves their best chance of making a swift return to the Premier League.