The dreadful decline that Bradford City have endured over the past four years has been worrying, with the club flirting at times with relegation this season and finishing in their lowest position since the 2011/12 season.
With that being said, it’s a fresh start to a new era for the club, with a mass rebuild beginning, several players departing the club and a new manager reportedly already agreeing to join the club.
But which players, free agents or contracted, could don the claret and amber of the Bantams next season for the eventual return of fans?
Ed Upson - Free Agent
Following his release from Bristol Rovers, defensive midfielder Ed Upson is on the search for a new beginning as he enters his golden years.
Whilst the 31-year-old may be seen as on the older side for a long-term option, he could be an influential member of the squad for the next few years to supply a much needed rotational option to give Elliot Watt and Levi Sutton a desperately needed rest, with the two having to carry the central midfield accolade for last season.
On top of that, a leader like Upson would have a positive impact in the dressing room and on the pitch, as the midfielder has bags of experience and has witnessed a range of different types of circumstances.
Joe Maguire - Free Agent
Having just been released from League One side Accrington Stanley, Joe Maguire has already been linked with a roster of League Two sides.
With the departure of Connor Wood from the Bradford starting lineup, a new left-back may be needed if Matty Foulds isn’t going to be employed as a regular in the squad.
Maguire seems like an ideal option, at just 25 years old, and has experience of a higher level and of League Two as well, having turned out for Crawley Town. Whilst he only made five appearances last season, with a new manager in at Bradford and a fresh start, it suits Maguire perfectly.
Daniel Powell - Free Agent
A player similar to Upson in terms of his age, Daniel Powell was surprisingly released by Burton Albion recently.
The dynamic winger was a regular in the Brewers’ squad this season, having made 24 appearances and managing just the single goal, but Powell is one with bags of experience at a range of different levels. He has turned out for Crewe Alexandra, Northampton Town and Mk Dons, even making over 200 appearances for the latter.
With power and pace, Powell has abilities that some of the current City squad are currently lacking. Of course it depends on what formation the new Bradford manager will adopt, but some new wingers wouldn’t hurt the squad, with Ollie Crankshaw and Charles Vernam the main current options. Powell would not only add experience, but is also versatile across the pitch, and it’s unlikely his wage will be too hefty.
Kabongo Tshimanga - Boreham Wood
The first of the players who are currently contracted to a club, Kabongo Tshimanga has been one of the most dangerous strikers in non-league for the past three years.
Having come through the Peterborough United academy, Tshimanga found his feet with Oxford City, impressing with 24 goals in 42 games. This prompted his move to National League outfit Boreham Wood, where he has so far been one of the most feared forwards in the fifth tier. Tshimanga has so far managed 38 goals in 79 matches, forcing links to a number of EFL teams.
Tshimanga is the sort of striker that would be a risk, having never played at this level, but at just 23 years old is the sort of risk that’s worth taking. Especially with Danny Rowe, Lee Novak, Clayton Donaldson, Andy Cook, Rumarn Burrell and Connor Shanks having all left the club, either at the end of their loan spell or beginning new endeavours. Some new strikers are definitely required, and Tshimanga could be the start of something big.
Sean Goss - Free Agent
Once on the brink of breaking into the Manchester United first team, Sean Goss’ career has taken a downwards trajectory and a move to the Bantams could revitalise his career.
Having recently been released by League One side Shrewsbury Town, Goss made 20 appearances in the third tier last season, challenging for his position in a relegation threatened season. Goss also endured spells with Queen Park Rangers and Scottish champions Rangers too.
A spare option in central midfield to help the fatigued Watt and Sutton, Goss would be an ideal option to bolster the hard-working constant in the middle of the park, as a player with determination, leadership qualities and a fine eye for a pass.
Jevani Brown - Free agent
Having recently been released from fellow League Two outfit Colchester United, tricky forward Jevani Brown will have a number of sides vying for his signature.
One of the few players in the U’s previous season that could hold his head high, Brown and his versatility could be a key component in Bradford’s 2021/22 season. With a new manager coming through the door, Brown could help to not only push for his position, but to also supply back up for the wings, attacking midfield role and up front, something which could be applauded by the new gaffer.
Brown also managed seven goals and three assists in 40 games, and it was a shock to the Colchester fans that the club opted not to extend his contract.
Isaac Olaofe - Millwall
The final potential signing that a new Bradford manager could consider would be Millwall attacker Isaac Olaofe.
The 21-year-old attacker rose through the Lions’ academy before spending loan spells at Sutton United and Scottish side St. Johnstone, but most recently returned to the National League with league leaders Sutton United. Olaofe has really come out of his shell this season, managing 15 goals in 39 games and being one of the divisions leading goal scorers.
With his success in the fifth tier, and the current lack of strikers in the Bradford squad, Olaofe would be a positive signing for the Bantams on a loan deal, acting as back up or potentially a breakout star for Bradford.