Julian Winter has every confidence Huddersfield Town’s new-look squad can deliver the goods in the Championship.
The chief executive has helped bring in 12 senior signings since the club last kicked a ball in anger.
It’s involved around £5m of investment – Town being one of the most proactive clubs at second-tier level in the latest transfer window – and Winter believes the necessary building blocks are in place.
“If you do a base-line assessment of what’s left the club and what’s come in, on the basis of what we know so far the ones who have come in have improved where we stand,” said Winter.
“On top of that, as we get better as a group, that situation will improve week on week.
“The background work which was done by Stuart (Webber) and the guys, who have put in a lot of hard yards doing the analysis and working on the players coming in, means we are in the position to move forward with this group.
“They’ve made sure we’ve done everything in our power to ensure the players are right and I have no doubt they will all gel.
“We have a strong, stable group of players around the club who complement the ones we have brought in, to freshen up and improve things.
“A number of lads have been around at Town for a while now that bring that stability, and as we raise expectations with new players coming in, you hope everyone raises the bar.”
While Town have done some dealing close to home, bringing in the likes of Liverpool goalkeeper Danny Ward, Manchester City midfielder Aaron Mooy, Chelsea’s Kasey Palmer and Southend starlet Jack Payne – along with keeper Joel Coleman from just over the hill in Oldham – the rest of their business has landed a string of continental imports including £1.8m record signing Christopher Schindler from 1860 Munich.
So how difficult has the wheeling and dealing been?
“All of the lads coming from abroad were complex to deal with in their own way, because that’s the nature of cross-border activity,” explained Winter, who joined Town in April as successor to Nigel Clibbens (now at Carlisle United).
“I suppose those deals brought a level of complexity we haven’t experienced here for quite some time, so most of the foreign transfers were a little bit protracted.
“The benefit, though, was to work from where we got to at the end of last season, because a lot of the deals were well thought out already and well rehearsed, so when it came to the negotiations about contracts, even though we were talking cross-border transfers, it was just a matter of going through the processes.”
So how does it all work between head coach David Wagner, club owner Dean Hoyle, director of football Webber and chief executive Winter, who was a Huddersfield Town player in the 1980s?
“Dean is always heavily involved in the discussions at the start, along with David, who identified a number of these players,” he explained.
“Stuart then goes out to assess things, we’ve already set the financial parameters and from there we try and get the deal done.”
Winter explained why Town have been keen to get their new arrivals in place well ahead of the Championship kick-off against Brentford at the John Smith’s Stadium.
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“A lot of good work has been completed and, for us, we are running with a couple of extra professionals in the senior group to hopefully compensate for the loss of emergency loans this season,” he said.
“It’s slightly different for everybody and all clubs are working to find their solutions, but we feel a couple of extra bodies is the best way to go to provide for that.”
Winter says the only expectation is that the club will improve on last season, hopefully be some margin, but like chairman Hoyle he is setting no targets.
“As I have said before, I am excited by the shape of the whole squad with the players we have retained, the loans we have brought in and the permanent signings,” he added.
“I think we have some really exciting players in the club, and the fan reaction has been amazing.
“The timing was excellent through Dean looking at the extra solidarity money coming into Championship clubs and creating that positive message that season cards could be vastly reduced.
“It caught the mood and I think Dean’s decision was definitely ahead of the curve, creating real positivity around the place while we’ve been issuing good news on signings pretty much all the time.”