Leaving it late for the loans

With the promised link with West Ham finally coming to fruition in recent weeks, has Paolo Di Canio left his loan signings too late? Andrew Steele-Davis investigates.

Upon his eagerly anticipated arrival on the managerial scene, Paolo Di Canio promised that Swindon Town would benefit significantly from links with Tottenham Hotspur and Paolo’s old stomping ground, West Ham United. There was also talk about a possible link with AC Milan but this rumour was, not unexpectedly, quickly brushed under the table.

However, throughout Di Canio’s rigorous activity in the transfer window in pre-season there were no signs of these links coming to the fore with Di Canio instead switching his attention to agents offering free transfers from far flung countries.

No less than fourteen players were signed by Paolo in the summer, but with the recent splurge of loan signings that have arrived at SN1, the question is, why wait until now?

With the Tottenham Hotspur link seemingly dead in the water and also with the links with Manchester City from last season seemingly cut, it is the relationship that Di Canio has with former club West Ham that is being used to Swindon’s advantage but could this link also come at a price for Town?

We always knew the loans were the potential trump card to fire us to promotion, however its taken until early October to really see the benefit. With the recent arrivals of Jake Jervis, Liam Ridehalgh and Christian Montano added to Ahmed Abdulla who joined the club in August, the total size of the squad is now thirty meaning that a considerable amount of Di Canio’s new permanent arrivals are rotting on the sidelines.

The welcome loanees mean that the likes of Lander Gabilondo, Oliver Risser, Ibrahim Atiku and Etienne Esajas, are sat in the sidelines week in, week out despite being herald as key players by Paolo at the start of the season.

Even Alan Connell, who has impressed so far in a Swindon shirt, now finds his place in the starting eleven very much at risk with Jake Jervis and Christian Montano the preferred paring up front against Accrington. And with the two loanee’s getting on the scoresheet, it’s hard to see Connell reclaiming his place for the time being.

Should Paolo Di Canio have made these loan signings earlier? The first signs suggest the answer is a firm yes. The loan signings were clearly long term targets of Di Canio’s which suggests that maybe some of his first signings were brought in out of desperation. Personally, don’t be surprised to see the likes of Gabilondo, Esajas and Atiku head for the exit door in January, be it on loan or on a permanent deal.

So overall, with Di Canio seemingly a fan of getting young, talented players on loan, it looks like the end of the road for certain players at the County Ground. Many of these players, like Gabi and Esajas joined in the summer which is again further proof that Paolo has left it late with these loan signings.

However, you can’t complain with the quality of the players he’s brought in on loan, I just wish they had been here from the start of the campaign. Better late than never…


  • I suspect the problem was more that Paolo had no real benchmarks at the beginning of the season to judge the quality of his team. It was therefore only after a few games that he was able to decide what he needed on loan, and it took a bit more time to secure the right players. I also suspect that other managers were only willing to allow their players to come here when they were sure they would be playing football the right way. The Crawley game may have even provided that catalyst.


  • It’s where we should have had tougher friendlies than say a Cirencester or a pub team in Italy to really see how good our signings were. One mistake lead to another but now, we should be a team on the up.


  • I agree with Phil Brunnen, but I would also like to add, good players stuggling to get into the team is a good thing. maybe Risser and the others felt they were certs to start in some way. I’m certainly no expert, but its a long season and quality will be needed. Some of these front runners in the league will finish mid table at best. injury.. dip in form.. etc.. will take its toll on them. I think although PDC is just starting out in management, he does know what is needed and a good sized competetive squad will be reqiured. It may not be the dream season we were all hoping for as yet, but for me, its very interesting.


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