Huddersfield Town pulled off a startling season in the Championship throughout 2016-17 and, after four years of rugged relegation battles, are in the top division for the first time in 45 years.
A dramatic play-off final against Reading ended in a 4-3 penalty shootout win for the Terriers and a place in the Premier League despite finishing the season with a negative goal difference.
But the West Yorkshire club are likely to partake in a relegation battle of higher prestige this season with bookies placing them as clear favourites to face the drop. It would appear essential that Huddersfield acquire a few new faces to meet this challenge whilst also retaining their own star-players.
Centre midfielder Aaron Mooy displayed performances of grit and determination in his 45 appearances for Huddersfield last season and was individually rewarded by being voted player of the year by the club’s fans.
The Australian international racked up four goals and seven assists in the Championship but it was his creative passing and ball retention that stood out in his prolific season at Huddersfield. He also helped clinch promotion by firing into the bottom left corner from twelve yards in the play-off final penalty shootout.
Mooy signed a three-year deal with Manchester city in June 2016 but was loaned to Huddersfield a few days afterwards. The Terriers appear to have succeeded in retaining the 26-year-old’s services with a £10m deal to sign him permanently from the Blues.
22-year-old Steve Mounie looks like a possible useful addition to the front line as Huddersfield have reportedly offered French Ligue 1 side Montpellier £11.5m for the Benin striker. This would be a record spend for the Terriers if a deal were to go through and Mounie shows signs of being a good fit for Huddersfield’s style of play.
Standing at 6 feet 3 inches, the most obvious quality that Mounie could bring to the John Smith’s stadium is his aerial threat. Of his 14 goals scored for Montpellier last season, six were a result of headers.
Coupling this with the consistent crossing of full-backs Tommy Smith and Chris Löwe, the striker could support a greater emphasis on the wide attacking play of David Wagner’s Huddersfield. Other qualities that Mounie could bring to the Terriers is his persistent off-the-ball pressing as well as pace to make runs behind the opposition’s defence.
Another player Wagner could be looking to bring to Huddersfield is Oliver Burke, currently playing for German side RB Leipzig who shockingly secured a Champions League place after finishing second in the Bundesliga.
The 20-year-old Scotsman only made a handful of starts for Leipzig but has previously played in the Championship for Nottingham Forest. Burke is a winger who may benefit from a loan spell, and Huddersfield would certainly benefit from his swiftness and agility on the wing to bring the opposition wide.
The Premier League is one of the most demanding leagues in the world, especially for who teams who have not competed before. Huddersfield should indisputably be looking to bring players who have experience in the top flight into their squad in their quest to survive, with tough tests against Crystal Palace, Newcastle and Southampton marking their first three Premier League fixtures.
Written by Harry Mahon.
90maat.com – your digital Premier League guide.