The Imps are being linked with a move for 27-year-old Charlton midfielder Alex Gilbey, according to London News Online.
We are one of a trio of clubs seemingly in for the midfielder, with Leyton Orient and Shrewsbury also thought to be in the mix. That collection of clubs would surely see us as front runners, given that Gilbey is a former teammate of Joe Walsh, Regan Poole and Conor McGrandles (so likely to have heard good things about us) and is probably not going to consider a drop into League Two.
Who is Alex Gilbey? He’s just the type of midfielder I’ve said we need from the start of the summer; he plays very much centrally but can crucially operate as a four as well as an eight. He’s also experienced, having been around the Championship, League One and League Two for a while now. He would be just the type of player fans think we need to flesh out the squad, a viable option in the four role with plenty of games under his belt.
He came through the youth ranks at Colchester United, playing there for several seasons, as well as helping Newport to Blue Square promotion in 2013. He earned a move to Wigan Athletic, where he appeared in the Championship but moved to MK Dons as they were relegated in 2017/18. He was then a part of the Milton Keynes side that pushed us all the way for the League Two title in 2019, as well as their squad for the following season. In both of those campaigns, he was voted their Player of the Season, which ensured clubs kept a keen eye on him.
In the summer of 2020, he moved to Charlton, where he racked up 60 League One appearances. However, since Conor McGrandles arrived, Gilbey’s position in the squad has been questioned, and he’s barely played under Ben Garner this season. He featured in their League Cup game against QPR but didn’t even make the bench for their three league matches against Derby, Sheffield Wednesday and Plymouth. Gilbey is notable to Imps fans for the red card he earned in the first half of our win at Charlton last season.
For my money, Gilbey is just the sort of player we need to have in our squad. he’s had immense promise in the past, underlined by his spell with MK Dons. He’s played more League One games over the last two years than some of our current squad and is experienced, which I think our midfield needs. He’s also a leader; Aaron O’Connor played with Gilbey at Newport, and he told Medium of his experiences with the then-19-year-old.
“Even as a 19-year old he (Gilbey) came in and wasn’t afraid to tell people, he wasn’t shy. He has that natural leadership quality. Sometimes it’s not even vocal, he leads with his performances as well. There were tough games down the stretch for us at Newport and you need to see people getting stuck in and leading, vocally, and with their performances. You need them to lead on the pitch. And he did that. He has that kind of influence with the way he plays. He motivates people with his effort and his work ethic, his willingness to get stuck in, his talking. It drives people on.”
That sounds like the exact type of player I still feel we need to replace Liam Bridcutt, so fingers cross this one has legs.