In the summer of 2018 I created a post that was maintained throughout the transfer window in order to keep everyone up-to-date with the players coming and going during that busy spell. I also provided a list of players and their contract situation. The plan here is to copy that format and hopefully some of you might find it a useful page in terms of checking in on our current squad.
January will be a really important time for United on and off the park but Neilson has spoken regularly about the need for quality rather than quantity. Elsewhere in the division all of the other sides will be looking to add to their numbers but United fans will be mindful that we have not exactly had the best of luck when it comes to this particular transfer window.
After the desperately disappointing loss to Alloa a few weeks ago the build-up to the window has took a turn for the worse in terms of numbers needed. Neilson was candid in his post-match interviews and made it clear that there are players at the club who should not be here.
With new owners, new directors and a fresh sense of optimism, could we be seeing a change in fortunes?
This is a LIVE blog post and will be updated as and when changes happen.
CURRENT 1ST TEAM SQUAD
Deniz Mehmet (contract expired but remains at club for training)
Stewart Murdoch (contracted until June 2019)
Tam Scobbie (contracted until June 2019)
Lewis Toshney (loaned to Brechin City until June)
Paul McMullan (contracted until June 2019)
Billy King (loaned to Gillingham until June)
William Edjenguele (loaned to Falkirk until June)
Scott Allardice (released)
Pavol Safranko (loan until June 2019)
Sam Stanton (contracted until June 2020)
Jamie Robson (contracted until June 2020)
Fraser Fyvie (contracted until June 2020)
Matty Smith (contracted until 2020)
Josh Donaldson (loaned to Civil Service Strollers until June)
Nicky Clark (contracted until June 2020)
Callum Booth (contracted until June 2020)
Sam Wardrop (contracted until June 2020)
Fraser Aird (loaned to Queen of the South until June)
Frederic Frans (contracted until June 2020)
Benjamin Siegrist (contracted until June 2020)
Matej Rakovan (released)
Christoph Rabitsch (contracted until June 2020)
Adam Barton (loaned to Connah’s Quay Nomads until June)
Paul Watson (contracted until June 2020)
Yannick Loemba (contracted until June 2020)
Rachid Bouhenna (contracted until June 2020)
Craig Curran (transferred to Dundee)
Aidan Nesbitt (signed until June 2019)
Cammy Smith (signed on a two-year deal)
Jimmy Gomis (signed on a six-month deal)
Ian Harkes (signed on a two-year deal)
Ross Laidlaw (on-loan from Hibs until the summer)
Charlie Seaman (on-loan from Bournemouth until the summer)
Peter Pawlett (signed on a two and a half year deal)
Calum Butcher (signed on an 18-month deal)
Mark Connolly (signed on two and a half year deal)
Mark Reynolds (on-loan from Aberdeen until June)
Osman Sow (signed from MK Dons on an 18-month deal)
After a few days training with the club we have signed winger Aidan Nesbitt. Starting his career at Celtic Nesbitt spent time with Greenock Morton and Partick Thistle on loan before moving to MK Dons under Robbie Neilson in 2017.
He had not featured for MK Dons this season and was released from his contract earlier this week. We have moved quickly to sign him until the end of the season and he should provide competition in the midfield area as we look to create more chances and score more goals.
I think he is an upgrade on what we currently have and he is a direct and tricky winger with great pace who can find that final ball. Fans of clubs that he has been at have said that as usual with players of this type he can be a bit erratic but he does strike me as someone who can provide more in comparison to what we have.
We have offloaded Craig Curran to Dundee. This all happened during Saturday and Curran was involved in the United squad before leaving Tannadice and heading up the road to sign for Dundee that night. The Dens Park side have taken on Curran’s contract and truth be told it is a great piece of business for us given the finances involved.
After many different rumours we have finally confirmed the signing of Cammy Smith. A player that was badly mismanaged by Ray McKinnon, he should provide the team with a proper driving force from the number 10 position. His ability to create and his goalscoring will be a fantastic addition. This is a great signing for United and one that could make a massive difference in our title push. Welcome back Cammy!
The club officially welcome back Jimmy Gomis after a trial period at the club. Not much I need to say about the little midfielder because we all know what he can bring to the team and what history he has with the club. We also know how he feels about the team over the road…
American midfielder Ian Harkes joins the United on a two-year deal. Long rumoured he finally put pen to paper and was unveiled today during the club’s busy media commitments with the new owner in town.
An attacking player he should help provide competition in that area and he has good experience within the MLS having played regularly for DC United. He is a good age at 23 and should be someone who becomes an asset to the club.
Robbie Neilson said early in January about the need for younger players to gain experience out on loan. As a result of this we have seen Archie Thomas join Stirling Albion until the end of the season and Stephen Glass join Airdrie. With high hopes for both players it is a good move for them to get good experience at a competitive level.
It was also confirmed that Scott Allardice is free to find another club after returning from Dumbarton. He is currently over in Ireland trying to secure a contract at Waterford.
A change in the goalkeeping department as Matej Rakovan is released from his two-year deal and Ross Laidlaw joins on-loan from Hibs until the summer.
Rakovan was never going to recover from his mistakes and the calamity of a performance against Morton at Cappielow proved to be his last appearance for the club. Getting a player on a two-year deal out of Tannadice is good business. His replacement, Laidlaw, hasn’t really pushed himself in terms of first team appearances for Hibs but he is dependable enough and will provide cover/competition for Siegrist.
Lewis Toshney has joined Brechin on-loan. Goalkeeper Josh Donaldson joins Civil Service Strollers until the end of the season.
The club have also secured the services of Charlie Seaman from Bournemouth. The young full-back, on-loan until the summer, describes himself as a very attack minded right-sided defender so could he be the one to fill a gap that we have had for a number of seasons now?
William Edjenguele has joined Falkirk on loan until the end of the season. The Frenchman has hardly featured under Neilson and you would assume that with his contract expiring in June he has played his last game for United.
Winger Billy King has signed with Gillingham on-loan until June. Like ‘Edge’ he is probably now out of the club permanently. Despite previously having a decent time under Neilson at Hearts he has made little impact since the new manager arrived.
Deadline Day – 31st January
So, here we are, Deadline Day, and a hugely important 24 hours for Dundee United. Let’s get started…
Firstly the club announced the signing of Peter Pawlett from MK Dons. A transfer that had been rumoured for almost the whole window reached its conclusion. He is a very, very talented player who has suffered from injury setbacks during his career. If we can keep him fit he should be a real difference maker and a big, big signing for us.
The second deal of the day came with the news that Fraser Aird had been sent to Queen of the South on loan. Despite contributing a large number of assists this season it has been clear that Neilson does not rate him. His defensive work is poor and he is a pretty lazy player so he isn’t the type that the manager wants at the club.
Our second arrival of the day came in the shape of the returning Calum Butcher. A surprise for many he comes back after not a particularly exciting spell at Tannadice under McNamara. He has gone on to play at a decent level and has hopefully matured during his time away. He is a very aggressive player and someone who could help shift the focus in our midfield to a more combative style.
Signing number three, for me, could be the most important in terms of the personality of the team. Defender Mark Connolly has arrived from Crawley Town and if you listen to his ArabZone interview he comes across very, very well. He is a former Kilmarnock captain and is a no-nonsense, passionate central defender who has the potential of becoming the defender we have been crying out for.
The fourth and fifth signings of the day came late on and at a time when United fans were refreshing social media well into the night. Firstly we secured Mark Reynolds from Aberdeen until June and then we signed striker Osman Sow.
The signing of Reynolds is, like the Connolly one, a really important addition and one that took us all by surprise. A vastly experienced defender he is a signing that I am really pleased with.
As for Sow he adds height and technique to our striking department and if Neilson wants to play with two strikers (please play with two strikers) then he will be a good partner for either Clark or Safranko.
In amongst all of this we moved on Adam Barton, but nobody cares about him.
Overall this has been one of the busiest and most successful transfer windows in the club’s recent history. One slight concern might be the lack of players moving on but I am sure the club are working on that.
The squad is now full of options and depth. We have added quality and experience with the added bonus of two or three aggressive leaders who should lift the motivation in the squad.
Can we do this? Can we win the league? If you had asked me last Friday I would have been resigned to the playoffs again but as a football fan there is nothing like half a dozen new players to lift your spirits!
Although nothing official has appeared via United it was announced today that Scott Robertson is joining Brechin City as a player. It is expected that he will continue with his coaching role at Tannadice but will obviously be unavailable for his role in helping with pre-match preparations for the first team.
The club today made the official announcement that Tony Asghar has joined us as Sporting Director. In addition to that we also have a new Managing Director in the shape of Mal Brannigan. Not much had been reported about Brannigan but he joins after holding the same position at Dundalk FC. He will hold power over the business side of the club and will be the decision maker alongside Asghar.
Although nothing has been said about the role of David Southern in all of this, you would expect him to be on the way out of the club in the near future.
Another off-the-field appointment with Gordon Forrest joining as Assistant Head Coach. He brings a wealth of experience with him and although he has served mainly in Canada with Vancouver Whitecaps the fact that he held such high positions at such a big club can only be a good thing.
Well known and well respected in the Scottish coaching setup, he holds the highest qualifications available and he regularly speaks to trainee coaches as part of their education.
A really busy 24 hours as the new owner Mark Ogren met the fans and the media. He brought with him the full team of new staff and took questions last night from fans before meeting the Scottish press today.
Many, many positives from these meetings and he addressed big issues like the fabricated story regarding any merger or groundshare. Him publicly calling this out and denying it means he gets off to a good start. He has also said the club will donate £5,000 to the Jim McLean statue fund along with many smaller announcements that have been covered in the notes from the various fan groups at last night’s meeting.
An internal re-structuring will continue and changes will happen over time but the focus is primarily on promotion and the strengthening of Robbie Neilson’s squad. Ogren spoke of this and funds will continue to be available during the window.
Last night he also spoke of fan involvement and engagement with the focus being partly on atmosphere within Tannadice and calling on fans to make the place much noise and a place to fear for opposition players. New Managing Director Mal Brannigan sat amongst the fans on Saturday and said that the matchday experience needs to be better. Robbie Neilson also encouraged the ‘flag team’ and the fans to make every home game a more exciting atmosphere to lift the players and intimidate the opposition.
Some things are still unclear but Ogren has promised to buy back Gussie Park and he confirmed that he will be a hands off chairman with much of the decision making falling to Mal Brannigan and Tony Asghar.
Ogren has, in my opinion, two main goals. A sustainable club with growth, and the elimination of the undercurrent that has existed in recent seasons. We all just want to get back to enjoying the football and being able to talk about the stuff on the park. Do that Mark and we all be happy and UNITED.
Former Rangers striker Lee McCulloch joins the backroom staff at Tannadice until the end of the season. He will provide expertise in the attacking areas and he should hopefully teach some of our players some tricks regarding the more physical side of the game…