Nine Scandinavian Players City Could Target

Credit Graham Burrell

In pre-season, where time allows, I love a task, a bit of digging into players and possible signings.

Chris is the same (and Charlie, I suspect), and he’s been doing a few bits around players in the UK we could target, given their profile. For me, a recent interview with Jez George really piqued my interest.

I love listening to Jez; I always have. He’s clever, never gives much away, but manages to say plenty at the same time. I’m glad this interview with him has gone down well because people need to hear him speak. He always talks very passionately about the club and clearly lives our successes as we, the fans, do.

Credit Graham Burrell

Jez’s Comment

His most recent comments got me interested in a possible recruitment drive in Scandinavia. Before I go too deeply into the next nine pages, I’ll give you a little taster of what he said to BBC Radio Lincolnshire’s Michael Hortin (please do listen; this bit is around 43 minutes, but the whole podcast is superb).

He was asked about foreign markets, which have become a little more open to us under changes to the transfer rules. I’ll drop on those changes in a minutes, but first, here’s what was said.

“We’ve been pretty serious about this for the last six months,” said Jez, referring to the changing markets.

“You’d imagine the players we’re looking at are going to command transfer fees, so we can’t do that lightly.

“They are also going to be players that have the ability to play higher, so they’re going to be on the cusp of whether we can afford them, whether we can afford them and whether they would come to League One.”

“Scandinavia is certainly an interesting market. I’ve got a few trips in the next four weeks. I’ll see games in each of those levels, I’ve been over a couple of times already.

“We’ve got one player in particular that we are really keen to see if it’s possible to do something with. I met with his representatives; Michael and I are going over to watch him as well.”

Those are the comments, and there’s a teasing trail of breadcrumbs for internet sleuths and armchair scouts to follow. However, before I start to breakdown the players we’ve looked at and why, it’s important to understand the new rules.

New Transfer Rules

If you wish, you can read a comprehensive overview here, but I wanted to touch upon how they effect the choices I’ve made in terms of players. Essentially, post-Brexit, we couldn’t just sign anyone from Europe, as we did with Lewis Montsma – we even had to get special permission from authorities to sign Oisin Gallagher from Ireland.

However, changes to the work permit rules implemented by the Home Office and the FA mean we can now explore those markets. The actual number we can sign is based on all sorts of moving variables more complicated than Numberwang.

However, we can sign a player (to my understanding) if (this is taken directly from the excellent Analytics FC site):

  • Played in at least one competitive youth or senior international for a nation ranked in the FIFA Top 50 (aggregated over 12 months for a Youth Player)
  • Played in at least five competitive youth or senior internationals for a nation ranked outside of the FIFA Top 50 (aggregated over 12 months for a Youth Player)
  • Played in at least one Continental Youth or Senior Competition match in Band 1-5 leagues
  • Played in at least five Domestic Youth or Senior Competition matches in Band 1-5 leagues
Credit Graham Burrell

How We’ve Identified a Player Profile

Chris and I sat down and had a chat about what might or might not work, and we feel this is the profile of player the Imps will be after.

Age 16-24: Pretty standard. It’s likely to be in the middle of that range, but we’re surely going to be looking at making a signing with resale value.

Based in Denmark: There’s a little leap here, but we think Denmark. There are clues. Firstly, only Sweden, Norway and Denmark are Band 5, ruling out Iceland and Finland. Jez said it’s a market we’ve been serious about for six months, and he’s been over a couple of times already – Norway and Sweden had their season finish in November, six months ago, so we can’t have been over to watch a game during that time in those countries.

Or Loaned Out: It could be a player who has played for another team on loan or is now on loan with another side. That could mean a Norweigan player loaned to Europe over the winter, something like that.

Not At a Top Six Club: This became apparent quite quickly. We don’t think the player we’re eyeing has been a regular for a top six club. Why? Wages, for one. We initially looked at Anosike Ementa at Viborg, until it became apparent he was off to Genk for more than £1 million. Therefore, we’re looking at players either lower down the league, with far fewer minutes, or (feeding back into the last one) have been on loan.

Attacking Player: This is a bit of a leap on our part, and it hasn’t come from anything Jez has said specifically on the subject. However, our feeling is this could be an attacking player. If we’re to pay a fee, we’d need to know there was a chance of a decent return. Judging by comments Jez made about Danny Mandroiu and hoping to realise potential in the first year, we think the same applies to whoever the mystery target is. Besides, we’re sorted for centre-halves, keepers and holding midfield, so a player with attacking impetus would stand out. Plus, it’s sexier to read about attacking players, so it’ll keep you a lot engaged.

Credit Graham Burrell

With that in mind, I spent much of my Saturday in the sun with Wyscout, Transfermarkt, Soccerbase and Wikipedia open, coming up with a list of ten. Remember, the last time I did this was identifying ten possible ‘out there’ coaches we could go for. On that list were Des Buckingham (heavily linked a week later) and Michael Skubala (I think you know him already).

Without further ado, the next nine pages contain nine players we could be looking at, in alphabetical order.

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