DANNY SIMPSON: FROM A PREMIER LEAGUE WINNER TO A BRISTOL CITY FREE AGENT
Free-agent Danny Simpson has joined up with the Robins having been without a club since leaving Huddersfield Town at the end of the 2019-20 season.
The former Manchester United right-back becomes Nigel Pearson’s first signing as Bristol City manager, initially on a deal until the end of the season.
There is a suggestion that it could be for longer, with only eight games left of the season and two fit right-backs it seems strange if it’s only for such a short period of time.
Simpson is an experienced right-back having played at 11 clubs throughout his 14-years in the game, but at 34 is heading into the twilight of his career.
Away from Old Trafford the right-back won promotion to the top-flight on both sides of the Tyne-Wear derby, first with Sunderland on loan and then with Newcastle on a permanent basis.
He repeated this feat for a third time with Queens Park Rangers when they made it to the Premier League through the play-offs in the 2013-14 season.
Bristol City manager Pearson worked with Simpson as Leicester completed the great escape to avoid relegation from the Premier League in the 2014-15 season.
He played 30 times under Claudio Ranieri as the Foxes won the Premier League in the most remarkable of fashions, even going on to feature six times in the Champions League.
He was released at the end of 2018-19 season having only played six games and joined up with the Terriers for a single season where he did feature 24 times as they finished 18th.
Simpson had returned to Leicester City to maintain fitness in February and March of this year training with the under 23s squad, before linking up with the Robins this week.
Pearson’s side have looked light at full-back for almost the entirety of the season, with both recognised left-backs Jay Dasilva and Tommy Rowe out with injuries.
Steven Sessegnon has had to fill in the left side leaving only Jack Hunt as the primary right sided option and it would appear Pearson wants more competition.
Many City fans were desperate for the club to sign a left-back in the January transfer window, but apparently all of the club’s targets became unavailable due to injuries.
Simpson will be the fourth free agent arrival in the last two seasons for the Robins who have papered over the cracks a few to many times for most fans likings.
It also means that five of the last six permanent signings at Ashton Gate will have been over the age of 30, a far cry from the typical pattern in BS3 where players are bought young and sold for a profit.
Although all of these players have been on short term deals, barring the two-years given to the more regular starter Chris Martin it does appear to a far cry from the risks of acquiring players from the leagues below.
One casualty of the deal was loan signing Alfie Mawson, who the Robins had taken from Fulham on a season long deal but has suffered unfortunately with two knee injuries.
His loan deal has been ended before the original date at the end of the campaign, with Bristol City requiring an extra space in their 25-man playing squad to accommodate Simpson.
The Robins appear unlikely to reach the play-offs this season but also won’t be considering relegation, so another free-agent signing was probably unexpected.
With the freedom to try and test young players, some fans have were much more hopeful to see more academy prospects get an opportunity to impress in some first team action.
Pearson’s side are next in action after the international break as they welcome Stoke City to Ashton Gate on Friday, April 2.