There’s been lots of talk about City’s striker struggles recently. Whenever we don’t win a game, it is a lack of forwards. If we slip out of the top seven, it is the top end of the pitch to blame for the demise. When we score goals, well then things go silent for a bit.
It is common knowledge, seconded by Danny, that we would have liked another striker through the door in January. Not just any striker though, not an Ade Azeez who sits on Cambridge’s bench, but a proper player. A player who would take a two-year deal and be worth it. A player who would add to what we have and be a part of it going forward. We’re talking 23-28 (age, not goals per season), Football League quality with something different to our current crop.
We didn’t get it and it caused much head scratching and moaning. I fell for it too, at 11pm on deadline day I felt cheated somehow. Three weeks later, Ricky Miller hasn’t scored for Mansfield and the world doesn’t seem as harsh. Besides, if you look at it, we’re now in a strong position come the summer.
We might have a bit to concentrate on before then, but on reflection we’re in a super bargaining position this coming summer. Look at our squad for now, most of the best players signed two-year deals. We’re not going to need to bring in any wingers, midfielders or even centre halves, not pressingly. When James Wilson regains fitness we’ve got almost a full defence on good deals. If we can just tie up Neal Eardley we’re going to be set across the back for next season, be it in League Two or League One. Same (arguably) with the centre of the park, especially after Alex committed his future to the club. With Harry Anderson and Tom Pett on long contracts too, the nucleus of the side is there. Up top Matt Green will still be here too, even the big man has his new deal (pictured top). We’re essentially only adding a little here and there. Loan players aside, we only really need one in the summer that isn’t complementing what we have already. Imagine that, all summer to find the right striker, at a time when they’re out of contract and up for grabs.
We’re a Football league club now and League One isn’t going anywhere. Currently, neither are Danny and Nicky and neither are the key players in the squad. What rush is there? If we don’t do it this season, which we may or may not, what do we lose? Twelve months?
Yes, I’d love to have seen one in before the transfer window, but I’m seeing Danny’s vision now. Look at it this way, what if Danny got a sniff of a striker that would send us to the next level, but thought he might not be available until the summer. Would you have rather he spent the money on a player who was available, but not as good, or would you rather he waited? We’re a Football league club now and League One isn’t going anywhere. Currently, neither are Danny and Nicky and neither are the key players in the squad. What rush is there? If we don’t do it this season, which we may or may not, what do we lose? Twelve months?
Let me put it another way, given a choice which would you pick: play-off promotion this year or champions next?
It is conjecture, nothing more, but a Wembley final is an achievement and it HASN’T cost us promotion. If someone said to me DC would get us to be National League champions in 2017, Wembley finalists in 2018 and League One by 2019, I’d take it. This isn’t a sprint and if (big if) we don’t do it this season we’re going to be right up there again next, albeit with that elusive striker in our ranks. With a summer transfer kitty to use and just one major target to acquire, we’re going to have the pick of the players Danny fancies. He won’t be persuading players to sign for league newcomers either, he’ll be asking them to join a side in the top teams in the division with a Wembley final under their belt. That’s a much easier sell.
I’m not talking Ricky Miller, I’m not talking about a non-league player looking to prove his worth. I’m talking about a ‘proven’ goal scorer, as much as they can ever be truly proven. I’m talking about a potential partner for Matt Green and a player who could be swapped directly for him as well. I’m talking a Montserrat international with pace to burn who just recently passed 50 goals for his club.
I’m talking about Lyle Taylor.
That is the level of player we are likely to attract this summer, promotion or not. Wimbledon are arguably a ‘smaller’ club than us with less potential. They’ve done incredibly well, but even with the ground move they’re not a patch on Lincoln City of 2017/18. I’m not trying to be derogatory, just truthful. Sincil Bank is a League One ground all day long, especially when it is filled with 9,000 Imps fans creating the best atmosphere this division has seen all season. Players want to play for us, for our progressive coaches and our ambitious board. Lyle Taylor will know all about the Cowley brothers and their potential.
We are a solid striker away from winning this league. There’s no detriment to Danny for not getting one sooner, these players need to see change, progress and the like. remember, the rumour was that Matt Green turned us down last January as he didn’t want to drop into the National league, but when he saw the progress we’ve made he got on board. Bozzie, Wilson and Freck are others who have seen the potential, sensed the vibe and jumped on the loco. Don’t think other players haven’t taken note, they have.
The big question is this; when is Lyle Taylor out of contract? He signed a new deal in August 2016, but at the time it was undisclosed and that hasn’t changed. There’s been little chatter around the current one running out, but with Joe Piggott recently joining them (and scoring) are they preparing for Taylor to leave? He recently passed 50 goals for the Wombles and boss Neil Ardley is relying on those goals to keep Wimbledon in League One. He said; “It tells you he is a very good player, that’s why the Plymouth fans were picking on him. If we can keep him in that form we will have a great chance. I thought Lyle was outstanding and it was a shame because he deserved the penalty, he deserved a hat-trick. That might have made for a very interesting last 15 minutes.”
What make things really interesting is if that contract he signed was for two years because if it was, and the lack of chatter on their forums is any indication, he might just be on the move come May. I wouldn’t bet against him wearing red and white next season and if he does and we’re still a League Two team, we’re going to be the team to catch.