THE waiting is nearly over and it is almost here. It probably has not escaped your attention that the big kick-off is upon us, with the Football League, sorry EFL, getting underway this weekend for our Yorkshire contingent.
Activity has been hot at certain clubs - and not at others - with newboys on parade in varying numbers during one of the most eagerly-awaited dates in the domestic footballing calendar, the first weekend of the season, although Hull City and Middlesbrough both have to wait another week for their big kick-off.
Here’s all the done deals and why the remaining priorities lie.
DONE DEALS: Kayden Jackson (Wrexham); Stefan Payne (Dover, undisclosed); Andy Yiadom (Barnet); George Moncur (Colchester, £500,000); Elliot Lee (West Ham); Tom Bradshaw (Walsall, £650,000); Ryan Kent (Liverpool, loan); Dylan Mottley-Henry (Bradford City), Elliot Kebbie (Salford City), Angus MacDonald (Torquay United, undisclosed).
PRIORITIES: Torquay defender Angus MacDonald has provided some defensive reinforcement for the Reds, whose family silver in the shape of messrs Winnall, Mawson and Hourihane remains on deck. The future of Mawson, who ex-Oakwell head coach Lee Johnson is ultra-keen to take to Bristol City, is under the microscope in particular. Trialist defensive midfielder Sessi D’Almeida is expected to sign a deal at Oakwell shortly, once international clearance is obtained, with Heckingbottom seeking to cover his bases elsewhere too.
DONE DEALS: Nicky Law (Rangers), Nathaniel Knight-Percival (Shrewsbury), Romaine Vincelot (Coventry), Colin Doyle (Blackpool), Timothee Dieng (Oldham), Rouven Sattelmaier (Stuttgart Kickers), Jordy Hiwula (Huddersfield, loan).
PRIORITIES: Plenty, with Stuart McCall and new chief scout Greg Abbott having their work cut out. Midfield remains an area which needs to be strengthened, with the club keen on Liverpool starlet Cameron Brannagan and having a long-standing interest in former loanee Josh Cullen. A new striker is another item on the ‘to-do’ list for McCall before the end of August, although the signing of the experienced Matt Kilgallon has mitigated for the defensive loss of Rory McArdle and Stephen Darby.
DONE DEALS: Tommy Rowe (Wolves); Matty Blair (Mansfield, free); Ross Etheridge (Accrington, compensation), Mathieu Baudry (Leyton Orient); Joe Wright (Huddersfield), Gary McSheffrey (Scunthorpe), Tyler Garrett (Bolton, £25,000), John Marquis (Millwall), Riccardo Calder (Aston Villa, loan), Alfie Beestin (Tadcaster Albion).
PRIORITIES: A mini injury crisis at the back, with Luke McCullough’s serious knee injury being a hefty pre-season blow, has come at an untimely juncture for a squad which has not the strongest depth. Some loan cover, both in defence but also up front and in the midfield, is the requirement to get Rovers through as Darren Ferguson taps into his contacts book to cover the club’s bases. One target linked with the club is young Chelsea midfielder Jordan Houghton, with young Aston Villa defender Niall Mason being another.
DONE DEALS: Aaron Mooy (Manchester City), Chris Schindler (Munich 1860), Elias Kachunga (FC Ingostadt), Chris Lowe (FC Kaiserslautern), Michael Hefele (Dynamo Dresden), Rajiv Van La Parra (Wolves), Joel Coleman (Oldham Athletic), George Dorrington (Manchester United), Ivan Paurevic (FC Ufa), Jan Goren Stankovic (Dortmund), Aaron Mooy (Man City), Danny Ward (Liverpool), Kasey Palmer (Chelsea).
PRIORITIES: Done and dusted, virtually, having done their business nice and early. A nice position to be in. Unlike....
DONE DEALS: Will Mannion (AFC Wimbledon).
PRIORITIES: Just where do you start after the close-season from hell, compounded by several untimely injuries. Hull, quite simply, need recruitment all over the park, with the in-tray for the new manager being a considerable one.
DONE DEALS: Marcus Antonsson (Kalmar), Kyle Bartley (Swansea City), Hadi Sacko (Sporting Lisbon, loan), Kemar Roofe (Oxford), Robert Green (QPR), Matt Grimes (Swansea City), Pablo Hernandez (Al-Arabi).
PRIORITIES: A midfield leader, with a deal to bring back Liam Bridcutt to the club from Sunderland edging ever closer. Also another central half too, with Jack Hobbs being the name that has done the rounds this week along with, intriguingly, Aston Villa’s Joleon Lescott.
DONE DEALS: Marten De Roon (Atalanta, £12million); Viktor Fischer (Ajax, £3.8m), Bernardo Espinosa (Sporting Gijon); Jordan McGhee (Hearts, loan); Victor Valdes (Manchester United), Antonio Barragan (Valencia, undisclosed); Alvaro Negredo (Valencia, loan); Gaston Ramirez (unattached); Brad Guzan (Aston Villa).
PRIORITIES: With their goalkeeping bases covered, Boro are not seeking a back-up senior central defensive option with Dani Ayala and Bernando Espinosa both still short of fitness and a move for Neven Subotic being scuppered. Hull’s Harry Maguire is a continued target, despite the Tigers knocking back their advances with the player reportedly ready to hand in a transfer request to force through a move. Boro have also linked been with ex-Tigers stopper James Chester. Expect movement before the big kick-off next weekend.
DONE DEALS: Anthony Forde (Walsall); Jake Forster-Caskey (Brighton, loan); Lewis Price (Sheffield Wednesday, free); Will Vaulks (Falkirk, undisclosed), Kelvin Wilson (Nottingham Forest, loan); Jon Taylor (Peterborough, £500,000), Scott Allan (Celtic, loan).
PRIORITIES. It is gradually starting to come together for the Millers, whose business has been brisk this week after a hitherto slow summer, with Kelvin Wilson, Jon Taylor and Scott Allan all arriving. Just as key is the promise from Tony Stewart that more signings are to come, with the ebullient Millers chairman having ventured that the club’s transfer record will be broken before the end of the month. The big ‘to-do’ area is in the forwards department, with the need to add to their desperately-thin forward ranks being pressing. One name doing the rounds is with Swedish striker Christoffer Nyman.
DONE DEALS: James Wilson (Oldham), Mark Duffy (Burton), Chris Hussey (Bury), Leon Clarke (Bury), John Fleck (Coventry City), Jack O’Connell (Brentford), Jake Wright (Oxford).
PRIORITIES: A key addition in midfield, with Wigan’s Sam Morsy being the name on many people’s list, although he will not come cheap.
DONE DEALS: Steven Fletcher (Sunderland), Jake Kean (Norwich), Almen Abdi (Watford), Daniel Pudil (Watford), Charlie Hayford (Spurs), Jordan Thorniley (Everton), Will Buckley (Sunderland, loan).
PRIORITIES: The Owls are eyeing another left-back and a centre-back with Carlos Carvalhal being a big believer in the maxim that you need two first-team players for every position, the maxim which governed Middlesbrough’s Aitor Karanka last term. If last season is anything to go by, expect a fair bit of movement before the end of August as Wednesday seek some further quality additions.