DOUGIE Freedman will be casting the net far and wide this summer in search of bargains.
The Wanderers boss has already identified a handful of targets and revealed he has been scouting for value in Australia, Norway and Switzerland.
Some of those players could be heading to this summer’s World Cup finals but Freedman insists his research will have been done long before the tournament kicks off on June 12.
“It’s a great fancy, sexy idea – fly into the World Cup and find a hidden gem,” he said. “But I’d like to think my scouts, good old fashioned scouts, have already done their homework on players if they are playing at the World Cup.
“I’m looking at markets where you can buy players – Norway, Switzerland, Australia – to see if we can get value for money.
“One or two of those players might be going to the World Cup but we won’t be going there to actually scout them because we’ll have already done it.”
Although reduced parachute payments from the Premier League and the continued spectre of Financial Fair Play will continue to bite into his budget, Freedman is likely to have room for manoeuvre with a handful of big earners coming to the end of their current Reebok contracts.
The futures of players such as Zat Knight, Chris Eagles, Tyrone Mears, Stuart Holden and Andre Moritz have yet to be decided, but Wanderers have already got firm designs on how they intend to use the money they have available.
In fact, Freedman revealed he is now looking at players with a view to the January transfer window next season.
“We’ve already identified what we are doing this summer,” he said. “It sounds strange but we’re viewing matches right now, especially abroad, for the January market. We stopped at the end of February looking at the current window and right now we’re looking to next year and where we’re going.
“They are still playing in Scandinavia right now and it’s a fantastic time to go over there. And all our data tells us that Switzerland and Australia are good value for money.”
Freedman is keeping tight-lipped on his targets, although striker Lukas Jutkiewicz – who has been a hit since arriving on loan from Middlesbrough – is understood to be top of the list.
“We’ve already got our list of targets and obviously we all hope we sign the lads at the top of that list,” the manager added.
“But if that doesn’t happen, we go down that list until the value is there for the money we have.”