Levitt and Oshilaja to leave
The salary cap is an annoyance isn’t it. The first time since our promotion from League One under the spiffs have we got a few bob to spend and we can’t spend it.
January transfer window activity is notoriously hard, even before the current EFL restriction and in the wider context of what the pandemic has brought, but I do foresee Thomas pushing through a fair bit of January turnover.
The owner was lucky enough to witness the 2nd half demolition of AFC Wimbledon, but I suspect he hasn’t been super impressed with many of the other performances in recent weeks. It has hardly been the Catherine wheel of the all out attacking football he wishes for, and it’s often been more than sloppy at the back to boot.
Therefore to add faces he will need Steve Gallen and Lee Bowyer to churn the squad. Not ideal, and a habit we desperately wanted to break after the Duchatelet years, yet needs must.
We are clearly struggling defensively, specifically at centre-half. We miss Inniss and Famewo hugely. Both are 7/8 weeks away. Inniss is one of ours, but with Famewo we run the risk that Norwich will recall him and ask him to continue his recovery at Carrow Road and then be introduced slowly into their promotion chasing first team. Both Daniel Farke and sporting director Stuart Webber are big fans of Akin.
Before and after his period of self-isolation Deji Oshilaja has sat on the bench watching a myriad of players play out of position ahead of him. Bowyer obviously doesn’t rate the ex-Wimbledon captain and would rather rely on the experience of Pratley or Gunter.
Nonetheless Deji is well known enough to get a loan move. A good sprinkling of southern clubs in League 2 pushing for the play-off’s could give Deji a home until May and reinvigorate his stumbling career.
Liam Lindsey from Stoke is on Gallen’s radar. The 25-year old has been frozen out in the Potteries, and he would be a good loan move if he is prepared to drop down a division, particularly if we have Famewo’s loan revoked.
If, hopefully, Famewo stays, then to make room for Lindsay Dylan Levitt’s departure would open up a loan option. Manchester United rate Levitt highly and are not happy that he has hardly featured under Bowyer.
Ryan Giggs will also be in United’s Academy head of performance Les Parry’s ear to get him game time pre the summer Euro’s. Levitt is young, quietly spoken and most probably homesick. The 20-year old also contracted Covid-19 recently and he will be keen to return north as London moves into tier 4.
After watching Conor Gallagher under the tutelage of Bowyer and Jackson, United will be disappointed that Levitt hasn’t followed in his footsteps and plan to re-set his development.
A loan move to a club more local to United would be beneficial to both parties. United are also in the midst of rebuilding a European club partnership post-Brexit. One of the Benelux leagues would be less physical for the young Welshman’s career progression if further from home. Levitt’s loan will end next week.
Other loanees Ian Maatsen and Paul Smyth have both impressed and we have to hope that Chelsea and QPR sanction the further half of the season with us.
How does that all move the dial on the salary cap? It doesn’t as the bigger earners are all all vital to Bowyer.
I can also see Gallen allowing youngsters Brendan Wiredu, James Vennings and Charlie Barker to go out on loan, and both George Lapslie, doing wonders at Mansfield, and Erhun Oztumer will stay where they are.
The big poser to Sandgaard for the January window is the future of Alfie Doughty.
There appears no immediate intention for Doughty to sign an improved contract, and this is a water-tight Sandgaard one, not a nonsense Southall one.
Doughty could miss another 17 league games if he doesn’t return to first team action until the latter part of March. That is a valuable unused asset for Sandgaard, who as honest as he comes across, will not negotiate with foolish agents.
Celtic are possibly going to lose their loan star Diego Laxalta in the window, who mirrors the same position of Doughty and with an eye on how well Joe Aribo has done at Rangers, Neil Lennon is almost certain to make a pre-contract January move for our 21-year old.
If Doughty moves to Scotland, Sandgaard realizes some sort of financial reward and opens open a gap in the salary cap.
Let the fun (?) begin.
Yep…it’s all about the salary cap.
It means making some tough decisions which the salary cap has foisted on us. I’d like to keep Alfie Doughty (as would everyone at the club) but can we afford to give him an improved contract and keep it in the same ball park as that ofered by Celtic? Prolly not…so we let him go for a six-figure sum in January and then see him develop into a player worth many multiples of what we sold him for. Meanwhile we as the club that indentifed him will lose out either on a several milion pound transfer fee when we flog him on or lose a player who’ll be the mainstay of our team for several seasons to come/ most likely a bit of both. The wage cap was designed to ensure that clubs didn’t spend their way into receivership via high debt, but losing a player who potentially could pay for everything is the downside. Where’s the incentive to develop talented young players and nurse them through the academy and into the first team?
Elsewhere – we need a centre back, as you identify Bow doesn’t seem to rate Deji Oshilaja, he had a few minutes as a sub against Wimbledon, other than that he’s been stuck on the bench. With Pearce’s injury record we need cover there as Innis and Famewo won’t be seen until late February. At the other end we need a goal scorer – a 20 goal a season bloke who creates and takes chances. Ronnie Schwartz has the attributes of a typical English centre forward, is two footed and scores goals. It’s an odd situation thathis club haven’t played him this season – presumably they have better, at least he’ll arrive fresh. And Dylan Levitt – he didn’t make the bench on Saturday and hasn’t started for some time. We have cover in his position of DM so I’m relaxed about that
All in all it means some tough negotiating over the next few weeks to bring in some fresh blood.