As the transfer window creeps up on us and we’re linked with every name under the sun, I started to wonder whether it’s really worth dipping into the lower leagues to sign players.
Obviously there’s a good and bad side to every argument, but the likes of Jonathan Walters and Tim Cahill show that players from the league can cut the mustard at the top level. Others like Jason Scotland and Wayne Routledge have failed, and even though they look good at Championship level they’re in between leagues so to speak.
The benefits are the players are usually cheaper, for example Shane Long was signed by West Brom in the summer for a price of between 4 and 6 million pounds, at least 5 million cheaper than Peter Crouch and I know who I’d rather have. Yes there’s the odd exception like the 10 million pound man Connor Wickham, but we’re not mugs like the Mackems.
Even though there’s no real stand out stars in the Championship like the previous few years there’s still some good players which we could look to sign for a smaller fee than a player that has Premier League experience.
I have a few players who I think could improve our team, either now, or in the long term.
Adam Lallana – Adam is someone who we’ve been linked with before, that was about a year ago now when Alan Pardew first took the job. The Southampton man has worked with Pardew before, and he has real quality. Lallana has 6 goals and 7 assists this season in the 19 league games he’s played, that is not bad for a winger.
He’d add a bit of depth to our wingers with Sylvain Marveaux injured it’d be nice to have another option other than the very inexperienced Sammy Ameobi. He hasn’t yet played at the top level, but I think he’d slot in with ease and be really dangerous in our current team. At 23 he’d be the right age for our transfer policy which is another plus point.
Nathaniel Clyne – Nathaniel is someone who we’ve been heavily linked with recently, with Danny Simpson stalling on a new deal. The Crystal Palace right back has shown himself to be one of the best players in the league for a few years, in a normally poor Palace team.
The 20 year old has been a regular starter since 2008 now and has played over 100 times already in his career. He has pace to burn and loves attacking, but he’s also a competent defender. He won Crystal Palace’s young player of the year in 2009 and 2010 and picked up the full award in 2011. He’s a player who would offer great competition to our right back spot.
Nathan Redmond – Nathan is a player who I’ve only watched a couple of times, but he’s really impressed me. Despite only playing 15 competitive games in his career he looks a mature winger who can beat a man on either side, and has a fierce shot on him, something neither of our wingers boast.
Redmond plays for Chris Hughton’s Birmingham and can play on either wing. The 17 year old is really impressing at the moment and it won’t be long until he’s snapped up, so we should move fast and secure his signature this January. I’m not sure what fee he’d command but at 17 we’d be able to make money on him for sure, and that’s Ashley’s way of thinking.
I know some of you will say that we need centre backs and not wingers, but I’d much rather have an experienced centre half who knows the game rather than a young kid being thrown in at the deep end. We should have signed Ashley Williams before Swansea’s promotion, but now they’re in the top league he’ll command a much higher fee.
They are the three I’d like us to take an interest in January, obviously I don’t want us spending stupid money on them but I feel that none of them would command a fee any more than £5 million which is well in our price range.
Would you take the risk of signing a Championship player? If so, who?