Hull’s early summer dealings have focussed on tightening the defence but scoring goals was the 7/10 relegation contenders’ main shortcoming last season. Accordingly, Steve Bruce has identified three candidates to increase firepower, with Nicklas Bendtner the most ambitious.
The unwanted Arsenal striker spent 2012/13 on loan at Italian champions Juventus – albeit barely featuring due to injury – and almost joined Europa League participants Frankfurt last week, so could consider a promoted team beneath him.
However, one factor that gives the lowest scorers in the top half of the Championship last term a chance of recruiting the 22-goal Denmark international is his relationship with Bruce, who he played under on loan at Birmingham and Sunderland.
Even so, the Hull boss isn’t overly confident, noting: “It’s obviously, when you’re coming from a club like Arsenal, a) can we afford him? and b) would Nicklas want to come to us? Nicklas Bendtner, without question, has got huge talent, but he might just be too expensive.”
The other striker being linked with a KC Stadium switch is Celtic’s Gary Hooper, whose prospects of a move back down south increased with Neil Lennon’s recent admission that “it will be difficult to convince Gary to stay”.
The 25-year-old wouldn’t necessarily be cheaper than Bendtner, with the current bidding in the region of £4.5-5.5m, but is likely to be more receptive as the main competition for his signature is presently provided by Championship side QPR.
The 5/1 second-tier title favourites’ squad features another player of interest to Humberside’s finest in Adel Taarabt, whose fractious relationship with Harry Redknapp has reportedly reached breaking point this pre-season.
His wages are believed to fall around the £50,000-a-week mark though and he has numerous overseas suitors, so Hull’s best bet is to try to negotiate a loan arrangement in which they only have to contribute a portion of his pay packet.
The Tigers are evens to stay up, while if you anticipate a hasty and demoralising return to the Championship, they are 3/1 to finish bottom.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.