Huddersfield Town’s togetherness has presented them with a chance of Premier League survival, but a quiet transfer window saw just two new arrivals as manager David Wagner keeps the faith in his current crop.
In a January which saw a total spend of just under £420 million in the Premier League, Huddersfield decided to get their business done promptly and with little expenditure. Dutch defender Terence Kongolo arrived on loan from Monaco, shortly followed by the acquisition of attacking midfielder Alex Pritchard from Norwich City for £12 million.
The athletic, tough-tackling Kongolo looks like he will fit the Huddersfield style seamlessly and has impressed so far on the left side of a back three. Pritchard may yet add that creative spark that has been missing, despite only warming the bench so far. It remains to be seen whether either signing was good business, but if Town should ultimately be relegated then fans may point to their quiet January window as the catalyst, especially given their lack of firepower.
Manager David Wagner neglected the chance to add an alternative striking option and heads into the Premier League run-in with two recognised strikers, who have scored nine league goals between them. Steve Mounié has failed to hit the heights that his Premier League debut promised, whereas the physical Laurent Depoitre cannot seem to find any consistent form. With the two target men unable to play alongside each other it looks like midfield selection will be key, as they will look to provide service for Mounié and Depoitre to thrive.
Wagner may have also missed a trick by overlooking the young Premier League talent available. With the World Cup around the corner, several English youngsters may have been tempted by a loan move to Huddersfield in order to catch Gareth Southgate’s eye. Everton winger Ademola Lookman was loaned to RB Leipzig, of Wagner’s native Germany, in his search for first-team action and scored the winner on debut. The England under-21 international will be looking to follow in the footsteps of Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho. After breaking into the Dortmund first team, the Manchester City loanee is now considered an outside shot to star at Russia 2018 by Oddschecker. If both of the above can catch the eye for top Bundesliga sides, then there’s no reason to suggest they couldn’t light up the John Smith’s Stadium.
Huddersfield’s success this season has been built on their resilient defence. The last-gasp heroics of the likes of Christopher Schindler and Mathias Jørgensen have given Town a fighting chance on numerous occasions. Epitomising the Terriers image, the pair rank third and sixth respectively in the Premier League for defensive actions. With Kongolo slotting in alongside them, the Huddersfield backline will continue to build the foundations for their team to go on and steal three points in tight encounters.
Ultimately it seems that Town’s survival hopes rest on the attacking midfielders providing a link and getting balls into the box for the target man, whether it be Mounié or Depoitre. Any creativity stems from playmaker Aaron Mooy, but with the Australian being more of a holding midfielder, he needs help from the likes of Tom Ince, Rajiv van La Parra and Collin Quaner ahead of him. It’s no secret that this trio have failed to perform in the top flight, with neither of them registering more than a single goal in the league. Yet they possess the pace to get forward in support of the striker, it’s up to them to start finding an end product.
Collin Quaner is Huddersfield’s leading creator with three league assists.
Huddersfield Town were the surprise package as they won promotion from the Championship, even finishing the season with a negative goal difference. Wagner, who told the Huddersfield Examiner that his team will find it easier now they are finally in the relegation zone, will need his Terriers to massively overachieve once again. However, hopefully, the players will be boosted by the faith displayed from their manager. His decision not to panic buy and shake up his squad should be rewarded by his current attacking stars if they are to survive the drop.