The capture of Liam Bridcutt and the departure of John Akinde have made the news in local press this morning, but not in Lincolnshire.
Instead, the Bolton News and the Kent Messenger have run with stories covering both transfers, but with information that might be of interest to Lincoln City fans.
Firstly, let’s look at the capture of Bridcutt. At present, we don’t know how important it might be, but the acquisition of a player with several million-pound moves behind him would seem like a big boost for the squad. He had been on loan at Bolton and, despite being ruled out for a time through injury, Bridcutt was a player they seemed keen on keeping.
Trotters boss Keith Hill has been speaking to the Bolton News about the move this morning, saying: “Liam wanted to go Lincoln, it was as simple as that.”
He wouldn’t go into too much detail, but as in the move of Tyler Walker, we’ve benefitted from a player wanting to move, without forcing it the wrong way.
“We had a conversation and he explained his reasons why, and they will remain private, but he wanted to go there,” added Hill. “He had a great time here and he’ll always be welcomed back.”
Bridcutt wasn’t able to make his debut this weekend as he signed after the midday deadline, but he will be available for the clash with Rotherham, which could be a big evening for City in the quest for enough points to make the final couple of months safe. Another player who wasn’t able to play for City was Big John, who completed a move to Gillingham in January.
Steve Evans, who isn’t renowned for being entirely truthful with the press, has revealed that Akinde took a huge pay cut to leave the Imps. The article suggests he could have taken a pay increase to go to Salford, but chose Gillingham instead.
“He took close to a 50% pay decrease, which is incredible,” said Evans. “I spoke to him (during negotiations) more than I spoke to anybody. I probably speak to Paul Raynor more than my wife but I was speaking to John Akinde more than Paul Raynor!
“There was a lot of work and our chairman was fantastic in the end, not by adding numbers to the original deal that was proposed, that was always the deal and credit to Lincoln. But the person who deserves more credit than him is John Akinde. He is the one who wanted to move back to Kent, his words to me was that he always thought that if I came here at some stage he would like to be here and he is now.”
He goes on to add something that I always thought might be the case; the move back down south was family orientated as much as anything.
“Everything is about family and when I showed interest even his family wanted him to come here. The location suited, the club suited, the level suited, there were a lot of ticks in the box for him. John is one of those lads that has to feel comfortable that he can play, that you will be straight with him, that it is the right fit for him and his family. The chats we had with him it was always about his family and coming back to Kent, and that is admirable.”
The report also uses those magic media words ‘it is understood that’, in reference to him moving to Gillingham for a ‘six-figure’ fee. That would seem to suggest to me that much of the Tom Hopper money was covered by Akinde’s departure. Whilst the settling in period hasn’t been ideal, here’s hoping that Hopper is a better long-term investment than the often-maligned big John.