5 EFL transfers that need to happen in January
With the transfer window having recently opened, we take five deals that have to happen for the benefit of both club and player.
Dwight Gayle to Leeds
Leeds need a striker who can get them promoted to the Premier League, so they should turn to Gayle.
The 29-year-old is as close a guarantee to goals as you can get in the Championship.
He netted 23 in Newcastle’s title-winning campaign in 2016/17 and repeated that total last season for play-off semi-finalists West Brom.
Given that he has started just one Premier League game for Newcastle this season, it would be a surprise if they weren’t open to at least loaning him out.
That he didn’t feature in the matchday 18 for the Magpies’ 1-1 draw at Rochdale in the FA Cup third round could indicate a move is not far away.
Following Eddie Nketiah’s recall by Arsenal, there is a vacancy at Elland Road.
Leeds are currently operating with Patrick Bamford and fringe player Tyler Roberts as their only recognised strikers.
Bamford has 10 goals this season, while Roberts has scored just once since joining the club in the summer of 2018.
Make it happen, Marcelo.
Eddie Nketiah to Bristol City
Simply put, Nketiah needs to play regularly and Bristol City need a striker.
The 20-year-old was recalled from his loan at Leeds on 2 January after he started just two league games out of 26.
He did come off the bench 17 times in all competitions and scored five goals but, with parent club Arsenal wanting him to be more than just a super-sub, he’s back on the market again.
Play-off chasers Bristol City look like a perfect fit, having initially missed out on Nketiah in summer.
Manager Lee Johnson opted for Benik Afobe from Stoke after being knocked back by Arsenal.
But a serious knee injury to Afobe, after starting six games out of six, ruled him out for the season and has left Bristol City with just two recognised strikers.
This move makes sense for all parties.
Jack Clarke to Millwall
Clarke is another forward in need of first-team football, having been marginalised by Marcelo Bielsa.
The 19-year-old winger has been on the pitch for just 19 minutes in the Championship this season.
Clarke was signed by Tottenham in summer following an impressive breakout season at Leeds last term, in which he made 25 appearances in all competitions, and was immediately loaned back to continue his development.
But with Bielsa favouring Helder Costa and Jack Harrison on either flank, there have been very few opportunities for the teenager. He was recalled earlier in the month with a view to going on loan again.
That’s where Millwall come in.
Clarke would provide welcome competition for playmaker Jed Wallace in a side that is lacking creativity – the Lions rank 18th for shots per game and 22nd for successful dribbles.
Manager Gary Rowett has already confirmed his interest in the forward, with Preston and Nottingham Forest also reportedly sniffing around.
But a desire to keep Clarke in London and at a club Tottenham have previously had a positive relationship with – Millwall have had Jamie O’Hara, Ryan Fredericks, Ryan Mason and Harry Kane on loan in the past – could swing it for them.
Aiden McGeady to Sheffield Wednesday
Having been declared persona non grata at the Stadium of Light, McGeady needs a move away as soon as possible.
Sunderland manager Phil Parkinson made the winger available for transfer last month because of ‘a mix of both on-the-field and off-the-field’ behaviour, and he hasn’t featured for the club since November.
He had been a key player for the Black Cats prior to his exile, top-scoring with 14 goals last season and netting six in all competitions this term – still the second-most in the team.
It’s no coincidence that their form has been lousy without McGeady in the team.
They have won just two of their last six and had dropped to 15th, the lowest league position in their history, following a goalless draw with bottom-of-the-league Bolton on Boxing Day.
With Championship play-off contenders Sheffield Wednesday, who McGeady had a loan spell with in 2015/16, interested, he has to push the move through this month.
Sunderland’s loss will be the Owls’ gain.
Eoin Doyle to Swindon
For as long as the January transfer windows exists, managers will always be on the hunt for a 20-goal-a-season striker.
Trouble is, they’re not that easy to find.
So Swindon should do everything in their power to ensure they don’t lose this one.
Doyle has made a mockery of League Two while on loan at the County Ground, poaching 23 league goals in 22 appearances – half of the club’s total this season.
That makes him the top scorer in England’s top four divisions, while his nearest competition in the fourth tier is 12 behind him.
But unsurprisingly, that form has resulted in parent club and promotion rivals Bradford recalling him from his loan.
Doyle was relegated with the Bantams last season, netting 11 times, and played the first three games for them this term.
Having previously been deployed as both a number 10 and target man at Valley Parade, it is debateable whether manager Gary Bowyer is able to get the best out of him.
The Irishman is one of the highest earners at Bradford, who could struggle to pay those wages without moving people out, meaning there is still room to negotiate for Swindon.
Having also featured for both Bradford and Swindon this season, he is unavailable to play for another club.
Out of contract in the summer, securing a permanent move would surely be in the best interests of both the club and player.
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