Loanee Ben Whitfield has had an up and down season with the Valiants. On his day the youngster can be a match winner but has been inconsistent. So should Vale make a permanent bid for the 21 year-old?
Whitfield is out of contract at the end of the season and in January Neil Aspin said the club were very close to a permanent deal with the Vale managed adding that “we did make an offer to Bournemouth to sign him permanently. That was a distinct possibility.”
So, it appears that not only would Aspin would be interested enough to sign the forward permanently but his wage demands would not break the bank.
At the age of just 22, the forward also has potential to get better with both age and experience. Whitfield could be exactly the sort of dynamic young player with potential that Aspin could bring in to revive an ageing squad.
However, it has to be said that the offer to sign Whitfield was in January and in the period since the player has been pretty inconsistent.
The youngster has been in and out of the side with Aspin commenting at one point that “he is at his best when he works as hard as he can, when he is prepared to cover every blade of grass, whether it is wide or behind the striker, or wherever. That is all we have ever asked of him, to put in the work-rate that he showed in some of the games. But he hasn’t been at that level – you could say the team hasn’t been at that level – but certainly since the Luton game he hasn’t reached those standards.”
Whitfield has slowly recaptured some of his early form – scoring a vital winning goal against Chesterfield, for example – but has not reached the heights which saw him at the centre of a 4-0 thrashing of Luton.
So, is he worth it?
It’s worth remembering that Whitfield has started less than 75 League games and has never had more than a single season with the same club. He also has age on his side. Not only that but the forward has the handy knack of finding the net, scoring four times this season. Arguably, Whitfield has played at his best while supporting Tom Pope and that is certainly a position that Port Vale need to fill next season.
So, is Whitfield worth a go? Would signing the youngster persuade you to take advantage of the numerous UK free bets available now and back a Vale side with Whitfield in it to challenge next season? Or are there better, more experienced players out there who Vale should target instead?
We’re asking – if you were the Port Vale manager would you attempt to sign Ben Whitfield permanently in the summer? Place your vote below…