Lincoln City’s Early January Signing – Who Could It Be?

Credit Graham Burrell

You can look back over my site for the past six months and count on one nose the number of transfer speculation articles I’ve done.

Why? There have been a couple of reasons. I feel that in the current climate, the heaping of expectation on the recruitment team with a constant barrage of names is wrong. I know that budgeting is tight and that raising hopes of lots of players coming in might not be wise. Maybe I have the role of fan-driven media wrong, but endlessly listing names we might sign when the club are not in a position to do so, or should I say not seemingly in a position to do so, isn’t good. I call it the Lee Angol effect – the year we signed Lee Angol on loan at last minute, when many fans thought we were getting Danny Hylton. The Hylton rumours only came from social media, fansites and the like.

Another reason I haven’t done these types of articles is that they are often a vehicle to get ad revenue. When you see a site do ‘Five Players Lincoln Could Loan’, it is merely a vehicle to get you to click on their site. I don’t chase advert revenue on here, I don’t have to thanks to the generosity of my patrons, so I can concentrate on decoding memory sticks full of classic footage, or creating other content you might be interested in, leaving the click-bait stuff to those who need it. I won’t deny I have done those in the past on here to boost numbers, because they are popular and have a place in the world, but recently I just haven’t felt they are appropriate for us.

The other reason I haven’t indulged is fear. I have steered away from the ‘will Johnson be recalled’ articles until very recently, and even then only dropped one. I even condemned the Echo running such a story back in November, rightly or wrongly, which I stand by despite the trouble it caused. Yesterday, someone sent me a news article stating West Brom might sell Sam Johnstone, insinuating that they might then recall Alex Palmer. I could have run a story on that, but to what end? It is a tenuous chain of events that might not happen, sparked by an article in the Sun (I won’t say who sent me it for fear of outing them as a reader of that rag). How would putting fear into fans help? It would be a bit like the Lincolnite’s incessant ‘Covid is coming’ flood, wouldn’t it? Eating your Christmas dinner? Covid is coming and all our players will be recalled so choke on your turkey. Sorry, that isn’t for me.

Credit Graham Burrell

So, why now? Why now choose to do what is going to be an article of pure speculation, conjecture and hope-raising? Firstly, Michael’s recent interview with local media stating that he thought we might be close to an early signing. That is an indication that we are going to be active, there is movement to talk of, which makes it news, rather than pointless conjecture. Secondly,  with January just around the corner, it is topical too.

Who could we be signing? I have done some research on the type of player I believe is coming in, and before I present to you my picks, let me tell you exactly what attributes the player will have. Firstly, and I may be wrong here, but I think he’ll be a loan or free agent. For Michael to be hopeful something will be tied up early, I think the initial outlay may be minimal. That means no purchasing of players, something I don’t envisage unless we sell, so points to a loan or free agent. My gut tells me a loan deal too – I don’t see the type of free agent being available we’d sign – young, quick, and attack-minded. Those sorts of players have all been snapped up long ago. Looking at Michael’s philosophy, I think we will see someone in their early twenties at the most, packed with pace and attacking intent who can play through the middle as well or out wide. Most likely, he will come from a top-flight club who have seen how we have handled the likes of Palmer, Eyoma and Johnson, and who want to see a player not previously exposed to senior football to a serious level getting 20 games under their belt between January and May.

Of course, it might be George Thorne, but if it isn’t, here are some players I think might just fit the bill.