Stop all the clocks. Cut off the telephone. Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone. Silence the pianos and with muffled drum, get out the cheque book, Tim Ream has gone.
The loss of Ream has been covered fantastically both in prose and poetry by my fellow contributors in recent days, and so I will not cheapen their efforts by regurgitating their eulogies. Listeners of the LOVpod will already know my feelings on the subject; in short - I'm gutted.
One silver lining from the departure of Ream is the £1.75 million fee that the club will receive in exchange for his services from Fulham, which has allowed the club to actually spend some money on football players (not on transfer fees, don't be ridiculous - but even our playing staff deserve a wage packet, apparently). Imagine that. In a world of £56 million Kevin De Brunyes and £33 million Nicolas Ottamendis, some football clubs don't have a pot to do their business in. We're one of those. Bristol City are not. "Hello (insert football manager's name here), this is Steve Cotterill. Can I buy (insert striker's name here) please? I'll give you £9 million. What? He's not interested? Fair enough". What a tragic world we live in.
The worst kept secret around the club in the past week has been the imminent arrival of Francesco Pisano. The former Cagliari man has signed a two-year contract after 11 years with his former side,leaving after their relegation from Serie A. At 29, a two year contract seems a sensible decision. Renowned for his pace and ability to play at both right back and on the right hand side of midfield, it appears as though Pisano will possess the versatility to play as full back in a back four, or operate as a right wing back when Neil Lennon plays the much debated 3-5-2 formation that has bore volatile fruit both this season and last.
Despite the well known stereotype about Italians knowing how to defend, Pisano will need time to settle into what is a very difficult division to play in. One week you're taking on twinkle toes Tom Ince, the next powerhouse Michail Antonio, the following week 6' 1' target-man Daryl Murphy. He also has to usurp my new favourite player, Lawrie Wilson, from the starting line-up. What? He works hard, and he's got lovely hair. It's enough to make me swoon.
In addition, the Wanderers have also taken Wellington Silva on a season-long loan. The 22 year-old Arsenal man, who is yet to turn out for Arsene Wenger's Gunners, spent last season on loan at Almeria, where he made 31 appearances. Worryingly for an attacker, he didn't score a single goal in his time there. Since 2011, Silva has played his football in Spain at various clubs due to work permit issues. Arsenal were initially granted a "special talent" visa for Silva, however this was revoked by the FA, but not before he had scored on his reserve team debut against Manchester United. What is more promising are his recent appearances for the Brazil Under-21 side.
I'm praying that this loan move will be more of a Wilshere than a Miyaichi or a Benik Afobe (I wonder whatever happened to that lad?). Arsene Wenger decided to reward us for making Jack Wilshere the player he is today by giving us the shocking Ryo Miyaichi and the hapless Benik "couldn't find the back of the net if he typed it in his SatNav" Afobe (although I'm led to believe that it turns out he can play - who'd a thunk it?). I think he owes us a good one, don't you?
Silva can play either on the wing or behind the striker, and if it means that Liam Feeney doesn't get time on the pitch, I'll be cock-a-hoop. I'm hoping that Silva will provide the much needed creativity our front line is crying out for. Zach Clough is looking lonely up there.
José Manuel Casado
The club are allegedly also set to name another defensive recruit, Jose Casado, as the next player to join the squad. In light of Tim Ream's departure, a recent injury to Dean Moxey, and the sudden disappearance of Andy Kellett from the face of the earth, Wanderers are in need of a left back. Like Pisano, he is a 29 year-old free agent after leaving his previous club after their relegation last season. Unlike Wellington Silva, Casado was a bit part player last term for Almeria, playing only 8 times. He only appeared twice for Malaga in two seasons in a spell disrupted by a severe knee injury. Something tells me not to get too excited about this one.
In other news, Neil Lennon has reacted to our desperate need for goals by taking goalkeeper Rais M'Bolhi on trial. Nice one, Lenny. Seriously, what's wrong with Fitzsimmons as a back up keeper? I just don't get it. A second choice goalkeeper is bottom on my shopping list as it stands.
So there you have it. The four players that are going to propel us from bottom to top. A left back, another right back, a winger, a back up goalkeeper, but no striker.
Let's hope the manager has something up his sleeve, because if he hasn't, we better get used to the bottom three.