I keep getting asked, if I could choose one striker to sign in the summer, who would it be?
Everyone has their favourites, whether it’s Jayden Stockley or Ricky Miller, Theo Robinson or Idris Kanu. Football is all about opinions and, for what it is worth, here’s mine. I wouldn’t pick any of those.
If I could pick one, a single, solitary player who is currently available and realistically so, I’d choose a player who last season, scored just seven goals in 30 starts last season. A 28-year old who couldn’t prevent his side from being relegated, but did score against us. I’d choose John Akinde.
Akinde came back from injury last season and that affected his goal tally, but in 2016/17 he slammed home 26 in all competitions. He’s prolific and is looking for one last shot at the Football League. I know there would be a fee involved, but surely if he’s the right man, we wouldn’t balk at that, would we?
What convinces me he’d be good for us was a moment which I don’t particularly savour, a goal against us last season. He got the opener as we drew 1-1 with the Bees, a goal that Paul Farman took the flak for and in which a couple of our defenders were classed as at fault. However, if you watch it again, it was a great strike from a good finisher. Farms took the blame, but the finish was as far away from the keeper as it could be without going wide. Akinde mugged off our defenders and finished as naturally as anyone did last season.
Of course, I’d prefer Doidge or Eisa, but that won’t happen. We have a budget that we must operate within, no matter what our friends up the road at County or Mansfield want to spend. They’re building their hopes of foundations of sand, gambling on big wages to get them promoted, not wanting to think about the cost if it doesn’t work out. That isn’t us.
The Stockely fervour I really don’t get. Even their own fans say he is only any good in the air, signing him would be an admission that we’re going long again. Signing Akinde doesn’t. He’s 6ft 2in but isn’t all about the height, he’s got power and pace too. He’s a natural finisher too, like Liam Hearn in that respect. I truly believe Hearn was the last natural finisher we had and I don’t think Stockley is. Many of these strikers have one good season, inflate their worth and live off it for years, we don’t want to be the team who pays over the odds for a so-called proven player and end up with a seven goal misfit.
I concede we need a striker and I’d love it to be Akinde. After that I’d hope we sign a young player on loan from the top two divisions to add to our current offering. Remember, Bruno Andrade hit 22 goals last season and can play as a support striker and Matt Green will thrive with the right partner. People are writing Matt Green off, that is just ludicrous. He might not have got all of his 17 goals in the league, but he still averaged one in three last season, a decent haul for a striker if paired with someone of a similar ratio or higher.
Akinde and Green would offer pace and power, mixing Green’s tireless running with similar endeavour from the former Alfreton man. Then, with fifteen minutes to go, the big man comes on and we go long. If we’re winning the ball sticks, if we’re losing we look to get in behind.
In 2014/15, Aakinde hit 24, the year before 32 in all competitions. He’s got 89 in his four season’s with the Bees with last season his poorest return of all. Those teams looking to sign a 20-goal striker might look at last season and think he’s gone off the boil. In my opinion, they’d be wrong.
So to answer your questions, those of you who have messaged me, I’d like to see John Akinde sign for City.