It seems that reports linking Jorge Grant with a move away from the club are correct, which is a bit of a bugger.
I tend to be something of a hypocrite when it comes to pre-season transfer news. I’m happy to share every little link between another player and us, but I’m dismissive when it comes to our own. That’s how I felt when the first report came in yesterday, but today’s comments from Liam Scully indicate a departure from the bank for Grant after two seasons.
Obviously, it isn’t a good thing, but it is the model I’m afraid. Lincoln City want a reputation for developing loan players, sure, but also for not standing in the way of permanent signings progressing. That’s Jorge Grant, a player who has excelled at our club after being given a chance. Losing him will be a blow, but who is the next Jorge Grant? He might be in the reserves at a Championship club, or a free agent pondering his next move, and when he sees Lincoln is a place to grow and become a target for a Championship club, it will make us a potential destination.
I fear some fans may be let down when it comes to the money. For a start, there will be no disclosure of the fee, like it or not. Rarely is a transfer fee revealed these days, something I think cheats fans personally, but even if there was don’t be expecting seven figures. I recall Bradley Dack leaving Gillingham for Blackburn for £750,000 and I suspect that will be a ballpark figure for Grant. One would assume Forest are in for half of that, so we might see £325,000 come into the bank. Yes, it seems small fry for the player, but is it really? We got him for next to nothing, he helped us to a League One play-off final and doubtless played a key role in raising the profile of the club. Not all gains are monetary, no matter what you might think. Football has changed and value comes in many guises. We’ve had value out of Grant, any transfer fee at the end of that is a bonus.
Remember, he penned a new deal this season, which meant we didn’t lose out on a fee altogether. He didn’t need to do that, he could have got his agent to scout new clubs, downed tools and waited for a payday. Instead, he committed to the cause, contributed to the end of the season, and will now bring in a fee. I respect him for doing that when the other option would have been far easier, and it reflects well on his character that he did sign a new deal. I guess if we’d gone up, which we did look like doing all season, he would have got his Championship football dream with us, a win/win. We didn’t, and now he has to seek it elsewhere.
Where will be a decent place for him to go? I’d imagine something near his hometown of Banbury would be one possible move, so maybe Reading as a starter for ten. If he wishes to stay in the area, you could imagine Peterborough might be interested, or Hull. Both of those clubs would possibly see him remain in the city, and get the dream of playing one level higher. There’s an outside chance Forest could even come back for him I guess, especially as he has unfinished business there. Wherever he goes, there is no doubt he has earned his chance, and good luck to him.
It does leave us with a lack of creativity from last season. I’m not concerned about the lost goals, he might have been leading scorer, but without penalties we’re talking the same contribution from open play (in terms of goals) as Conor McGrandles. It’s the assists we need to replace, especially as Johnson and Rogers have gone too. Once this is confirmed, we desperately need to add some attacking options, both in terms of a ten and out wide.
We will though, there is no need to panic. Last season was excellent, but we are ahead of the overall plan, and that plan involves players coming and going. I wouldn’t be surprise is at least two more don’t move over the summer, and as they do we will have targets we move for that are not obvious right now. I have no fear in terms of recruitment, we had very few misses last summer and we’ve no reason to doubt Michael, Jez and the recruitment team.
Still, when this move is rubber-stamped and Jorge Grant leaves, it will be a tough one to swallow. However, it is not the beginning of the end, it is not the end of an era, it is simply the route our owners and manager have chosen to take us from one level to the next. We must trust in the process and the plan, because we have no reason at all to do otherwise.