Millwall owner John Berylson: I know we need to add to offence in summer transfer window


Millwall owner John Berylson knows that strengthening their attacking options in the summer transfer window is the top priority.

The Lions’ long-serving chairman is still determined to get value for money. It is more than a year without supporters at matches due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tenth-placed Millwall are the lowest scorers in the top half of the Championship table.

But Boston-based businessman Berylson, who has been bankrolling the Lions since 2007, reckons it is tough to find players who are guaranteed to deliver goals.

“We know what we need on this team,” he told the South London Press in an exclusive interview.

“We need offence on this team. Just imagine if we averaged more than a goal a game, which we currently have done, with all those draws we have? That’s a potential 15 to 20 points that we’ve left on the ground. We’ll try and fix that.

“I know we need goals. Some players have maybe not played to their full potential for different reasons, while some have been injured. We’ve had nine significant injuries this season.

“There are things we need to do. There are some players who won’t return, there are ones who will return and there are some positions we need to fill. My intention is to do the right thing.

“I don’t know if people are willing to sell players. But here’s what we’re not going to do – we’re not going to pay prices for people who aren’t worth it.

“This is my 15th or 16th year [at the club], something absurd like that. I’ve been here long enough to learn a little bit about the game. I go out of my way every year to look at transactions and what people were prepared to pay for certain players and how did they perform.

“You’ve got to pay the right price for the right players.

“For the most part we come pretty close to that.

Then it comes down to making them motivated and respected for their ability. Don’t overpay for players who really don’t add much to your squad. I do think you have to pay for those players who make your squad.

“We want to be a strong team. We’re going to do what we can to improve this team – because we do have ambition.

“We look at the teams around us – Norwich are clear at the top and they haven’t beaten us. Bournemouth, didn’t beat us. Watford didn’t beat us. Swansea shouldn’t have beaten us, Cardiff didn’t beat us. Middlesbrough did – that was on my list of three bad games out of the 36 we played. I count Blackburn as one of them.

“I was disappointed to lose to Barnsley but look what they did from there – nine wins out of 10 matches. We were in that game, maybe we were not so terrible after all. I don’t know how they are doing it, but credit to them. We didn’t just beat Reading – we took them apart.

“My view is that we’re certainly in striking distance of these top teams.

“Our record against the teams coming down from the Premier League is zero defeats, zero wins and four draws. And they are stacked with the parachute payments.”

Millwall went down the loan route in terms of trying to boost their firepower. Injuries have seen West Brom’s Kenneth Zohore play just 12 league games since joining in mid-October while highly-touted Tottenham teenager Troy Parrott’s stay was terminated in January as he struggled for first-team action.

Asked about strikers being an expensive outlay, Berylson replied: “Of course they are – and it’s extended back even further to attacking midfielders, who seem to dominate some games as well.

“Take Harry Wilson, he’s made a huge difference to Cardiff. I believe that was for a big loan fee alone. When you see Ollie Watkins go for a lot, I just don’t know what that price is going to be in these troubled times.

“But take a look at our league right now and you tell me how many great strikers you see now for putting the ball in the net? I can count them. Kieffer Moore is having a great year at Cardiff. He seems to be getting close to a goal a game. Ivan Toney is having a great year at Brentford. He has definitely performed, no question.

“[Teemu] Pukki is not doing as well as two years ago, but he’s still doing just fine. Barnsley have been winning. Their strikers are good, but are they great? Not clear. Jamal Lowe has gone from a winger to a striker at Swansea. But nobody blows me away, and I’m surprised about that.

“We clearly have to develop some [goalscorers]. We have to expand our scouting – which we have – and find these people from other places.

“Defence is what has kept us where we are. If you ask how we got there then I’d say it is a combination of Gary Rowett, the coaching staff and the defence.”

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