He’s Here and He’s Perfect

Credit Graham Burrell

That’s the text on a popular tweet I often see attached to transfer news, but as TJ Eyoma strode out onto the Sincil Bank pitch yesterday, it sprung right into my mind.

The Imps announced the return of last season’s loan star on a permanent deal, making him one of a few players to arrive at the club for a third spell. Initially, he joined on loan in January 2020, but returned to spurs without getting a kick. Last season, he played 53 matches as we waltzed into the play-offs, and returned to Spurs billed as a possible future first-team player.

Instead, they’re selling off their youngsters, and we’ve got right in there and bagged TJ. Obviously, like many, I’ve known a bit about this deal for a while. It was confirmed by a very good source two weeks ago we were in for him, and that it was almost a done deal. There were a few hiccups which I’m not privy to, one would imagine financial given the calibre of player. Anyhow, then he picked up an injury playing briefly for Spurs against Leyton Orient, and that put the deal on hold.

On Sunday morning, another good source suggested to me that the deal had been hijacked by another League One club with the means to pay bigger salaries. I heard nothing after that, not a peep from anyone, so I was of the belief we were not signing Eyoma. There was the dog walk video (which it seems a few of you watched, thank you) that not only saw my dog almost get run over, but also had me saying I thought we wouldn’t sign Eyoma. So-called experts, eh?

Credit Graham Burrell

His unveiling caught everyone a bit by surprise. The sound in the Coop Stand is poor when the crowd are all in, and even with half of the supporters queuing outside, the news didn’t get across well. You heard something from Alan Long, then a figure emerge. Those paying attention immediately spotted what was happening, those who were not were quickly told.

The video the club did was heartwarming in my opinion. He comes out for a wander and a wave, but seemingly the emotion of the welcome grabbed him, and he celebrated for a moment as if he’d scored a goal. Here is a player who wants a home where he’s adored, and maybe 5,000 fans gave him that on the pitch. As he walked off, he had a broad smile across his face, clearly delighted to be a Lincoln City player for now. I’ll say for now, because here is a player who fits the model – massive potential, ability already at League One level or above, but with much more to come. This is an exciting signing for the club.

Credit Graham Burrell

We know all about TJ, if you don’t you can read his player profile here. He’s a cracking player and a great prospect for the future, and he undoubtedly strengthens us across the back. I can’t imagine he’ll be sitting on the bench much either, but in my eyes, he’s going to probably end up playing in the middle. remember that block against Sunderland in the play-off semi-final second leg? He was outstanding as the season wound down, and was the eventual winner of the Stacey West Young Player of the Year.

TJ Eyoma’s arrival doesn’t solve some of the issues in the squad – we’re still light on a striker and there must be a bit of concern at left centre back, but it is a bit of really good news for the club. It’s a coup in my eyes, TJ left here a better player than when he arrived and I felt he might end up in the Championship, but that’s not the case, which is great news for us.