After days of speculation, the Imps have announced the capture of St Mirren midfielder Ethan Erhahon for an undisclosed fee.
The upfront fee, by the way, is not close to the reported £350,000 I’ve seen in the media. There is a good fee, but it certainly doesn’t begin to reach the levels suggested by some. It’s my understanding it could rise to somewhere in the region of that figure if Erhahon meets certain criteria, such as playing for Scotland or us getting promoted. I don’t know the conditions, but you’ll get the idea.
Erhahon is hot property, and in all my time following the club, I’ve never felt such a strong sense of potential around a signing. I don’t want to build him up, it might take him time to settle, and the press-reported price tag won’t help, but this does feel big for us. Before his exit, St Mirren boss Stephen Robinson waxed lyrical about his quality. “He has arguably been one of my best players all season,” he said. “But opportunities arise; Ethan was out of contract at the end of the season, and it was good business on behalf of the club.”
As always, it’s believed we fought off other clubs for his signature, but in this instance, there’s documented evidence of that being the case. Oxford and Forest Green have both had bids lodged for the player, with a six-figure bid from the latter accepted. However, Erhahon turned down the move to the New Lawn, and they are not the first team to enquire after him. He spent a short period on loan with Barnsley in the Championship, but that was for the few months before Covid hit and, like TJ with us, he didn’t get a chance.
As for the player, he’s predictable excited to be at the club and spoke of Jez George’s influence in his arrival. “I have always said I wanted to play in England and push myself to the next level,” he told the club’s official site. “I feel Lincoln is the right place and club for the next stage in my development, and I’m really looking forward to getting going. Jez George came up to Scotland to speak to me, which meant a lot, the club showed they wanted me, and I was impressed with the plans for the club – hopefully, we can go far together.”
He has had plenty of chances in the Scottish top flight. Operating primarily as a holding midfielder, he’s already passed the 100-game mark for his club, despite only being 21. In total, he’s appeared 123 times for them, 82 of which have been starts in the top flight. He’s scored four times and dismissed three times, the most recent of which came after just eight minutes of a 0-0 draw with Kilmarnock.
“I have played as a No.6 this year, but I have also played as a No.8,” he told the club’s OS. “I like to get about the park and dictate play. I’m not afraid to tackle, either. I’ve been at St Mirren since I was a young kid, have gone from boy to a man with them, played more than 100 games and am very grateful for everything they’ve done for me.”
Ethan Erhahon has also been a completely different player since robbo came in. Robinson being able to get the best out of individuals while also creating an incredibly strong team is something that seems to get overlooked.
Stephen Robinsons black and white army 🇾🇪 pic.twitter.com/2YaLKhoWwD
— Silky Kiltie🏴 (@Jml1877) January 29, 2023
There’s no doubt this is the headline capture of the window. At 21, Erhahon fits the profile of player you’d hope we’d go for – young and ambitious but also highly saleable. I know those who like a moan will talk about Jamie Robson’s departure, and those with a half-full glass will liken him to Mark O’Hara, but Ethan Erhahon is neither of those. He is a combative central midfielder with Scotland Under 21 honours and someone who many tip to become a full Scottish international, and he cannot be compared to either of our recent Scottish imports. Interestingly, he is (now was) a teammate of O’Hara at St. Mirren, and he was also playing alongside Alan Power last season.
If he fulfills his potential at Lincoln City, then his capture could be important in the long term. If he can tackle, pass and run, then he’s definitely going to be an asset in the middle of the park right now, because we’ve desperately lacked that since Matty Virtue got injured.