LEE JOHNSON believes that taking Andreas Weimann back to his roots will make him an effective replacement for Bobby Reid in Bristol City’s team this season.
One of the attractions of moving to Ashton Gate from Derby County for the 26-year-old Austria international was a promise from the head coach to play him through the middle, rather than out wide where he has been operating in recent years.
Johnson feels Weimann has just the attributes to take over from Reid, whose ability to pull defenders out of position, as well as drive in behind them, made him one of the Championship’s top players last season.
I understand the newcomer cost something like a fifth of the £10 million Cardiff City reportedly recently paid for Reid. But, while some Robins supporters will have anticipated a bigger investment, Johnson dismisses such talk.
“The important thing is to get the right player, not how much you pay for him,” Lee said. “There is an awful lot of money wasted in the transfer market and we don’t want to go down that road.
“I see Andreas as a replacement for Bobby because he is capable of doing a similar job.
“He has always seen himself as a central striker, so we will be giving him an opportunity he relishes.
“It was a position he filled successfully at the start of his career and there is no reason why he shouldn’t do well again. He has a few things to work on, but I had one 50 minute coaching session with him the other day and the difference between the first 30 minutes and the last 20 was unbelievable.
“Andreas is like Bobby as a player in many ways and has contributed to a lot of goals over the years, as well as scoring a fair few.
“We hope to reignite his career and I am very excited at the prospect of working with him.”
After a mixed start to his time at Derby, Weimann played in most of their games last season and has impressed against City in the past.
Like Reid, he had only another year left on his contract. When the Rams failed to win promotion and manager Gary Rowett left to join Stoke City, he decided the time was right to move on.
Weimann, who has signed a three-year contract at Ashton Gate, brings the experience of more than 100 Premier League appearances and 13 full international caps for Austria.
The former Aston Villa player will have to go some to match Reid’s workrate, but says that is one of his strengths, along with his movement and ability to open up defences.