Vale may have to pay over the odds to bring in proven quality and avoid the failures of the last two windows.
Rob Fielding writes…
A quick glance at the box below tells the story of Port Vale’s last two January transfer windows.
January 2017 was a disaster with Vale losing key duo Anthony Grant and Jak Alnwick and neither adequately replaced. In came the likes of Axel Prohouly (zero appearances) and Scott Tanser. Alnwick’s departure in particular was keenly felt with Vale putting nine difference keepers between the sticks over the next twelve months. The result – relegation.
By contract, January 2018 was marginly better. While Vale felt the departures of Gavin Gunning and Tom Anderson they were at least able to bring in some quality in the likes of Luke Hannant and Kyle Howkins.
Port Vale January additions
In: Dior Angus, Callum Howe, Luke Hannant, Charlie Raglan*, Kyle Howkins*, Zac Jules*, Donovan Wilson*
Out: Lawrie Wilson, Gavin Gunning, Anthony de Freitas, Dan Turner*, Graham Kelly*, Dior Angus*, Tom Anderson*, Tyler Denton*, Jack Stobbs*, Rekeil Pyke*
In: Chris Eagles, Scott Tanser, Danny Pugh, Olamide Shopido*, Axel Prohouly*, Leo Fasan*
Out: Jak Alnwick, Miguel Santos, Ryan Taylor, Anthony Grant, Nathan Ferguson, Calvin Mac-Intosch, Sam Johnson*, Ryan Lloyd*, Dan Turner*
Now the challenge is to do much better than the previous two years. In an ideal world, Vale should not be looking at the January window as a crucial transfer period but the club’s poor form and its obvious need for forward replacements has made it a priority.
While the likes of unknown striker Danny Elliott may prove to be up to the job in the long-term, it’s clear that Vale need more assured signings, players who have the experience and can make an immediate impact. Those sort of players are few and far between.
So how to make it a success? You can hope for a few unknown gems to turn up but in cruder terms Vale may just have to pay over the odds to get the players they want and need. It’s now a question of whether funds, such as the Jordan Hugill transfer add-on money, will be made available to Neil Aspin to make some major splashes in the window. It remains unclear if that money will be freed up but Vale fans will be keen for it to happen if the club are to steer clear of the drop zone.