Tayo Nears Exit: Incomings Expected

Credit Graham Burrell

I’ve tried to take a couple of days off, but the transfer deadline looms and news stops for no man.

Not even a man still half full of homebrew IPA and vodka, sadly.

I woke up this morning a little groggy, and that was exasperated when I saw the news broken initially by my former employer, Football League World. Tayo Edun is closing in on a move to Blackburn Rovers, with a later report putting the fee at £500,00, which doesn’t seem an awful lot. One would assume that may have incentives built-in, as well as a potential sell-on fee, and in truth, we’ll never really know the cost of a possible deal. If he does move to Ewood Park, few can begrudge him the progression. He was one of my favourite players from last season and he’s looked a cut above thus far this campaign.

If he goes, local media have reported it will be on our terms, we’ll look to bring in a new face of our own. We’ve been heavily linked with Jamie Robson, but doubtless, reports of the fee we are getting for Tayo have not helped our cause when it comes to negotiating a deal for the Dundee United man. This is why transfer fees are kept undisclosed – because if Dundee United see we’re getting £500,000 for Tayo, they’re surely going to stick their own price up. Of course, we might not even be in for Robson; it is never certain. Not until 11 pm strikes tomorrow.

Courtesy Graham Burrell

Firstly, the possible Tayo departure. The reality is our model has been based on bringing players in, turning them into better footballers and selling them at a profit. I’m afraid we can’t enjoy the good aspects of that (seeing them in a Lincoln shirt) but moan when the inevitable happens. I don’t want to see Tayo leave, but the model isn’t to buy good players, hang on to them for dear life and then progress through the divisions. That isn’t how it works for a club like us. We knew what the outcome was going to be, the process was fun, but the end result was always going to be this. I’m just pleased that he’s (potentially) going to a club I feel is bigger than ours. If he were to move to Peterborough or even Luton, it would stick a little bit in the throat, but Blackburn is a step up from them, in my opinion. Maybe that’s just my clouded opinion of the fact I’ve never known us to be in the same division as them (57/58 was the last time).

I look to the example of Oxford United as where we want to be – they lost two players in the transfer window of 2019/20 (Fosu and Baptiste) and it almost cost them their play-off place; it maybe did cost them promotion. The next season, despite being in with some big spenders, they were back n the top ten with a slightly stronger overall squad, and that’s us. We must rely on the recruitment team to find us players capable of turning us a profit and helping us remain an established League One side. I know a few of you are not overly keen on a couple of our new signings this summer, but we’re five games in; you cannot tell a single thing from that. Five games into Tayo’s Imps career, he’d been sent off and played in central midfield. If anything, his progression and development are a surefire sign that you should back struggling players. I’m talking here about Hakeeb, who I have already seen some awful comments about. I’m not the opinion police, but there’s a difference between saying he had a bad game (acceptable) and damning him as not good enough or making sarcastic social media comments about him incessantly (not ok). Tayo, and today’s reported fee, is surely evidence enough that you need time to settle and develop.

Credit Graham Burrell

Another point regarding the fee, I don’t think you’ll see huge figures for defensive players, and the next step would be to buy our own attackers who can turn a profit because the profit is bigger. It is rarer to see a defender go for £1m than it is a midfield or forward player, and that’s the Holy Grail for Imps fans, isn’t it? We want our first £1m player. I think, by some of today’s fees, Tayo is worth that, but it is a buyer’s market and buyers spend bigger bucks on attackers. I think capturing the likes of Bishop, and Adelakun, is a sign we’re trying to rely less on loans, and therefore turn a bigger future profit. Peterborough are well-known for never loaning in strikers; I seem to recall their ‘El Presidente’ saying he’d rather accumulate value for a forward player he owned, no one he loaned. We can do that (Rogers, Johnson), but you have to be in a position to buy those players first. Michael did it with Kemar Roofe back in his Oxford days and Marvin Johnson, but he had to spend six-figure sums to get them in. To do that, you have to generate some money, which is what we’re doing.

I’ve been led to believe a forward could be getting close, and Tayo will only go if we can bring another player in. I’d expect the club to make two loan signings tomorrow to get us up to five and bolster the squad. We all hear names we might be interested in, but the names are not important. In the 2019/20 window, when we signed Tayo Edun, how many people went ‘bloody hell, great buy’? Very few? What happened after that? He turned into a top player. Ditto TJ Eyoma. Tomorrow, we might sign three players you’ve never heard of, not Will Grigg or John Marquis or anyone like that, but a name you have to Google. If we do, they’re not bad players. It’s not underwhelming; they might just be the stars of tomorrow,

They might be the stars I reluctantly find myself writing an article like this about in 12 or 18 months time. If they are, the system is working, no matter how bad it feels when it happens.