January departures, arrivals and a LIverpool link for Swindon?

The January transfer window is usually a panic-filled month for Swindon Town fans. Recent January transfer windows have seen key players such as Charlie Austin and Matt Ritchie depart the County Ground and it looks like further departures are likely this year, but also we should expect some arrivals… Writes Calvin Hothi.

The departures..?

Alex Pritchard – Midfielder

The Spurs midfielder has taken the County Ground by storm since arriving in the summer. His performances haven’t gone unnoticed however. A host of Championship clubs including Bournemouth, Huddersfield and Blackburn are interested in securing the services of the loanee who is rumoured to be only valued at £1 million by the Spurs hierarchy.

Pritchard has been a stand out performer, contributing goals and assists throughout the season. He’s a player who will surely go on to play at a higher level. I’d say that £1 million looks like a bargain, but would rather Alex remained at Swindon until May…

Nile Ranger – Striker

Previous chairman Jed McCrory took a punt on the controversial striker in the summer. He was brought in to be our target man in replacement for Andy Williams and hasn’t disappointed on the pitch, notching six goals and contributing greatly by enabling Mark Cooper to play with a sole striker.

Off the pitch however Nile has disappointed, missing training on multiple occasions, being late on others, crashing his car and not avoiding headlines. Lee Power and Cooper have come to the end of their tether and will sit down with Nile to discuss terminating his contract next week. This is a sad way for Nile’s Swindon career to end, particularly as he is arguably the most naturally talented forward in the side.

Wesley Foderingham – Goalkeeper

Foderingham has been a constant performer in the Robins’ side since making the loan move from Crystal Palace permanent in January 2012 under Paolo Di Canio. A good shot stopper and a reliable ‘keeper is something teams strive for. Interest in Foderingham has been high since the start of 2013 with Bournemouth being the most likely to lodge a January bid.

Swindon fought off an approach from Brentford for his services in the summer, but how much would it take for Lee Power to part with Wesley? The issue for any potential purchaser is how much they’d need to pay for Foderingham because of his rumoured large percentage of any future fee being owed to Palace. Town will need to recoup a reasonable sum should they wish to replace Wes with a decent ‘keeper with Football League experience.

Mohamed El-Gabas – Striker

The Egyptian forward has played a bit-part role in the Town side since signing. A couple of substitute appearances and starts in the JPT means we have not fully seen El-Gabas. We can’t really judge him, the only ones who can make a good judgement are Mark Cooper and Luke Williams who see him train. His contract is up this January and so far it does not look like an extension will be handed out.

One who’s gone already…

Nicky Ajose – Striker

As I write this, news has come out that Nicky Ajose has been recalled a game early by parent club Peterborough. Ajose may not have started as many games as he would have liked but it didn’t stop him netting ten times in Swindon colours. Without him our JPT run would be over. He always put 100% into every game and was a thorough professional. A player that will be missed.

With 18 months on his Peterborough contract remaining, it appears we have been priced out of a permanent move for the former Manchester United trainee and I wish him the best for the future.

Potential arrivals..?

January has also seen some fairly good incomings to the County Ground, Wes Foderingham, Darren Ward and Matt Ritchie joining on a permanent basis. Here are some possible replacements that could be lined up…

Wes Thomas – Striker – Bournemouth

The 26 year old forward joined the Cherries from Crawley Town in January 2012 for a ‘six figure fee’ and has scored 11 goals in 46 appearances. After failing to secure his services in the summer and on-loan in the Autumn (owing to the disclosure of the deal via social media), the Robins are thought to have gone back in for the AFC Bournemouth striker in the past week.

Thomas has only played a bit part role in Bournemouth’s season making ten appearances off of the bench with just two starts, two shots on target and zero goals. The problem for Town is that Bournemouth aren’t keen to sell and have dismissed a new £100,000 bid this week.

Wes Thomas has the potential to be a replacement for Ajose or El-Gabas, however his lack of height means he wouldn’t be able to play the target man role so perfected by Nile Ranger. A further problem could be if Thomas would be willing to take a wage cut. There are rumours that he’s on ridiculously high wages on the South Coast with Cheltenham chairman Paul Baker described his wages he was signing for Crawley on as “staggering”.

Cheyenne Dunkley – Center Back – Kidderminster Harriers

Mark Cooper has reportedly sent scouts on multiple occasions to watch the former Crewe trainee. Cheyenne has played 19 games for play-off chasing Kidderminster in the Conference this season.

Cover for Town’s centre back pairing Darren Ward and Grant Hall is needed with both playing every game this season. Rafael Rossi-Branco has recently impressed against Bradford and Troy Archibald Henville, although nearly returned from injury, seems to be out of favour. Could the 21 year old Harrier be set to bolster the defensive ranks?

Liverpool link?

A rumoured link with Liverpool could see us gain access to some of their finest youngsters. With a few strikers and a defender needed, some of these could be seen making a temporary move to the County Ground in the near future…

Michael Ngoo – Striker – Liverpool

A towering striker who also possesses a burst of pace is someone who could be brought in as a replacement for Ranger. Earlier this season the 20 year old England youth international loan spell with Championship side Yeovil was ended by mutual consent after making six appearances but failing to find the net. Ngoo had a more fruitful loan spell with Hearts between January and May 2013 when scoring four goals from 15 appearances.

Lloyd Jones – Center Back – Liverpool

Considered to be one of the brightest starlets in the Liverpool youth side, Lloyd Jones recently signed a professional deal with the Reds and is tipped to step up to Brendan Rodgers side in a couple of seasons.

The 18 year old defender was ever present in their NextGen team. He signed from Plymouth Argyll in 2011. A short term stint with us could provide perfect experience in professional football needed to make the step up, but does he have the experience we sorely need in defence?

Joao Carlos Teixeira – Midfielder – Liverpool

18 year old Teixeira signed from Sporting Lisbon and is tipped to go onto big things with Liverpool. A flamboyant playmaker, he could prove to be a replacement for Alex Pritchard should he leave. The ‘new Deco’ can be deployed on either wing or down the middle and much like Lloyd Jones, could gain vital experience from a loan stint.

Jordan Ibe – Forward – Liverpool

Ibe signed from Wycombe Wanderers he can be deployed on either wing or up top. He became Wycombe’s youngest ever goalscorer when scoring on his first start in a 2-1 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday. Brendan Rodgers handed him his senior debut on the final day of the 2012-13 season. Now 18, Ibe has been awarded the no.33 squad number at Anfield and has made one appearance this season in a League Cup victory over Notts County.

January 2014 will be a big month in deciding how our season pans out, play offs or mid table finish. With departures likely, replacements are a must. We must invest in a couple of forwards and if Alex Pritchard is to leave, he must be replaced.

Lets make 2014 a good year.

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