Lee Johnson's clearout paves way for new signings at Bristol City
The summer offers clubs a chance to reflect on their recent season. Bristol City has wasted no time. Searching for the right squad balance, boss Lee Johnson has had a clearout. Several players have been shown the exit in order for the Robins to sign fresh faces.
After recently finishing 11th in the Championship, Bristol City should be aiming for a play-off spot next campaign. Perhaps even automatic promotion at a push. The first step to achieving that was axing five players.
Paul Garita is among the unlucky contingent. Having joined the Robins in 2016 from French outfit Chateauroux, the Cameroonian striker failed to make a league appearance. He was sent out on loan to Plymouth Argyle last season, featuring 17 times.
Garita's form wasn't enough to earn an opportunity at Ashton Gate. He is left searching for a team. At what level is anyone's guess. A step down to League One is a possibility. Returning to France is another.
Bristol's red half also released Scott Golbourne last month. The left-back's career began at the club before later returning two years ago. He made 36 appearances over a two-season period with the Robins but was then loaned to MK Dons. After featuring 25 times for the Dons, he may head back this summer in a permanent deal. Wages could prove an issue, however.
Golbourne could find a Championship side willing to take a punt. If not, England's third tier will no doubt come calling.
Luke Steele is another player deemed surplus to requirements. The goalkeeper played only 10 competitive games after joining Bristol City last September. With a CV which includes Manchester United, West Bromwich Albion and Greek giant Panathinaikos, the 33-year-old shouldn't struggle to find a new club.
However, Steele's reputation will likely demand high wages. That could be why the Robins haven't retained his services next season.
Gary O'Neil's future lies away from Ashton Gate, too. The midfielder arrived in 2016 before going on to make 36 league appearances. At 35, finding a new team could prove difficult. Especially one which can afford his weekly paycheck.
A Championship side looking for an experienced head may offer a lifeline. Should that not happen, O'Neil, formerly of Portsmouth, West Ham United and Middlesbrough, faces having to hang up his boots.
Hordur Magnusson joins O'Neil in the job queue. The 6'3'' defender signed for City two years ago. He made 61 competitive appearances, getting his name on the scoresheet once.
Magnusson is currently part of Iceland's World Cup squad. He appeared in both the 1-1 draw with Argentina and 2-0 defeat to Nigeria. Once returning from Russia, the 25-year-old must concentrate on resolving club matters.
Bristol City's five departees have freed up the club's budget. Lee Johnson will look to strengthen the squad this summer. Should he sign the right players, the Robins can mount a serious play-off push next season.