Danny has now confirmed the reports linking us with Alabi are incorrect.
As revealed in the Chester Chronicle yesterday, City have been strongly linked with a move for Chester City forward James Alabi.
It seems Danny and Nicky were as impressed with Chester as I was and have been looking at both Sam Hughes and now free agent Alabi as well. Hughes will be moving on up and above us, but it seems of the teams being linked with Alabi we are in pole position.
Initially it was thought he was set for Dagenham, and that may still be the case. He’s from Southwark in London and it would seem a sensible move in terms of geography. However, they have recently snapped up Morgan Ferrier from Boreham Wood, and with Hawkins and Corey Whitely also there I can’t see that being a sensible move for him.
Last seasons runners-up in the National League, Tranmere Rovers, are also allegedly interested after Cole Stockton recently moved to Hearts. Stockton has spent six years at Prenton Park, and last season he hit eighteen goals including a hat trick against Solihull Moors as they won 9-0. Just as he’s ‘come good’ he’s upped sticks and moved, and Mickey Mellon is strongly rumoured to fancy Alabi as his replacement.
Then there is Lincoln City. We currently have just one centre forward on our books, Matt Rhead, with Jack Muldoon and Adam Marriott mulling over contracts. Alabi would be very much cover and eventual successor for Matt Rhead, he isn’t the quickest, but he is a big unit who can be a handful in the air.
Alabi is still only 22 and therefore he will command a fee if we are in for him. He came through the youth ranks at Stoke City and had spells with Scunthorpe and Forest Green before impressing Mick McCarthy in a trial and signing for Ipswich. He didn’t break into the first team there, but he had a good two-year spell at Chester, scoring 17 times last season from 42 outings. He is raw, there’s no doubt about that, and he isn’t the mobile partner we need for Rheady either. What he does have though is strength and tenacity, and despite not being devastatingly quick he is still more mobile than Rheady. He can score goals at National League level as well, but would a lack of pace be found out in League Two?
If it is then we may have an issue with Rheady and Mazza too. We had pace in abundance from the wide areas last season, and no doubt Danny will be hoping to bring some through the centre as well. If we do need two players for each position though, Alabi does seem like a battering-ram type forward whom we could make use of.
At present the Chester Chronicle believes this is a three-horse race between us, Tranmere and Dagenham, and if that is the case we would have to be considered front-runners. Alabi fits the bill of ambitious non-league player looking to get into the Football League, but he has pedigree with bigger clubs in the same way Sean Long has, and the likes of Josh Ginnelly as well. He’s the type of striker that divides opinion though, a big and aggressive handful that bundles and barges his way through defences more often than using fancy turns and twists. He is perhaps a typical ‘lower league’ type player at present. However, if Danny and Nicky get hold of a 22-year old player who needs polishing and refining, then he gets polished and refined. James Alabi could be an astute signing for City.