Dundee’s hectic few final days leading up to the end of the transfer window last week sent out several clear messages about where the Dark Blues are right now.
Even before the flurry of activity that saw Kenny Miller and then, with just hours to go before the deadline, Calvin Miller, Andy Boyle and Ryan Inniss all signed up, it was clear just in terms of numbers the Dee squad was light.
With injury and suspensions certain to kick in at various times during the months ahead, it was vital manager Neil McCann added to the business he’d done over the summer in the shape of more signings.
And, after a difficult start to the season, what was just as obvious was the need for more quality. Only time will tell if that’s been the case but, in going for the men he has, McCann also ticked another box – namely to add players with good experience of the British game.
Those are the facts but the changes made give grounds for a number of other conclusions.
And many fans will see the arrivals as confirmation of their thoughts on Dundee this season.
As he made his moves, McCann was happy to leave the midfield alone but wanted more alternatives up front and at the back – areas where the team’s been lacking.
That he was so keen to get veteran striker Miller in was the least surprising move. Despite some decent performances, there has been a serious lack of goals. The men up top could, with justification, point to a dearth of chances created but when they’ve come the finishing hasn’t been good enough.
The issues in defence have become apparent in recent heavy home defeats to Ayr United and Motherwell.
On top of that, individual errors, like keeper Jack Hamilton’s at St Mirren and Genseric Kusunga’s blunders against Aberdeen and ’Well, have cost points.
Accordingly, three defenders – Inniss, Boyle and the younger Miller – were brought in on deadline day and the process of building a sound rearguard has begun.
Just as eye catching as the arrivals were the departures of Craig Wighton and Steven Caulker. With Wighton there was the consolation of a £250,000 fee from Hearts for a player who was not commanding a starting place.
That helped finance the capture of Kenny Miller, who had been expected to head for St Mirren, and the hope is his experience can help get the best from the likes of Benjamin Kallman, Jean Mendy and Sofien Moussa.
The frustration of Wighton’s exit is the knowledge if he turns potential into performances at Tynecastle, Dundee will have produced one of the best talents in the Scottish game without ever getting the full benefit of it.
And if he does do well for the Jambos, somewhere down the line they can expect to make a handsome profit on the deal.
With former England cap Caulker, it can probably be put down as a gamble that didn’t quite pay off, though it shouldn’t be forgotten he did play his part in staving off the threat of relegation last season.
For a time, it seemed if he did leave it would see a big-money fee come in. With his troubled past, however, ultimately other clubs were not prepared to take a chance and he left for free on Friday night after repeatedly expressing his desire to go.
With rumours the troubles that have dogged his career were continuing, the parting of the ways was best for both player and club.
Since pre-season it was clear he was not going to be first choice with the manager and, given he had to be the club’s top earner, getting him out made sense.