Done Deals Daily #19
When on earth does a team in 24th sell to a team in 23rd? The 25th of January, that's when.
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Albert Einstein never said this, yet we hear the phrase repeated over and over again as if he did. We try our utmost to avoid repeating ourselves on NTT20.COM, with the rare exception of this next bit…
Welcome to Done Deals Daily.
Welcome to Done Deals Daily.
Nelson Abbey (CB) - [Reading - Olympiacos] - Undisclosed
Hang on. An outbound player in an inbound-only bulletin?
Today we’re making an exception to our loosely codified rules because this one matters.
With a contract running down, at a football club suffering from the kind of ownership “issues” no fan wishes on their worst enemy, Nelson Abbey was always pretty likely to leave Reading this window. Pre-Jan, we guessed as much, and he has now become the latest victim/beneficiary of our TARGETS series after Connor O’Riordan moved yesterday.
What we didn’t foresee was a move to Athens-on-Trent. Evangelos Marinakis owns both Olympiacos and Nottingham Forest, and the latter will likely be Abbey’s eventual destination. How long will it be before the 20-year-old swaps the birthplace of civilisation for that of David McGoldrick? We’re not sure about that. But the departure certainly isn’t a welcome one for 21st-placed Reading in their fight against the drop.
Ademola Ola-Adebomi (ST) - [Crystal Palace to Burton Albion] - Loan
Joe Hugill – on loan from Manchester United – has made two appearances since joining Burton, grabbing a goal and assist and looking sharp. He's now joined by Ademola Ola-Adebomi, a player who has captured the attention of those who cover youth football.
The 6"4 striker known as "Mola" has scored 7 goals in 10 games in PL2 this season, and notched against Stevenage in the BSM Trophy. Mentioning the training facilities as one of the factors for joining, it's worth remembering how fortunate Burton are to train at St George's Park. In a league where most clubs would love just one highly-rated, PL2-prolific striker on loan, the Brewers have got themselves two. If they are as good as advertised and adapt quickly, Burton should ease away from the relegation zone.
VERDICT: LIKE IT
Jack Diamond (W) - [Sunderland - Carlisle] - Loan
Josh Vela (CM) - Fleetwood - Carlisle - Undisclosed
Two for Thursday at Brunton Park!
Jack Diamond has been contending with issues off the field, meaning a delayed start to his 2023/24 season. He has recently returned to training with Sunderland following a court case in which he was found not guilty on all charges.
Diamond will be looking to kick-start his career at a level he’s well versed in, having played a full season in League One with Lincoln and getting some minutes with Sunderland. Paul Simpson has opted for a winger-less 3-5-2 in recent matches, so that makes it difficult to see where Diamond would fit in. But maybe a change in formation is coming.
Simpson’s side ranks low for metrics such as progressive runs and dribble success. Diamond should improve these stats and it’s imperative that he does because Carlisle need to find some invention and creativity if they hope to put up a fight to avoid relegation.
The second arrival at Brunton Park is Josh Vela. How much he strengthens Carlisle is questionable. His most impressive stat this season is a better-than-one-in-two ratio for yellow cards.
It’s rare that a team 24th in the table (Fleetwood) sells to the team in 23rd. Logic says this move has to weaken one relegation rival.
Now for the punchline! Any modicum of ambition shown with this double acquisition may be diluted with the news that star man Owen Moxon won’t entertain a new contract with Carlisle. The Cumbrians are left contemplating whether to try and get a fee for their star man in this window or see him leave for nothing in the summer.
VERDICTS: ON THE FENCE (BOTH FENCES)
Jamie Jellis (CM) - [Tamworth - Walsall] - Undisclosed
Walsall go shopping in non-league for a midfield project and land themselves Tamworth star Jamie Jellis. He’s been instrumental for Tamworth for the past season and a half, taking them to an unlikely position at the top of the National League North as they go for back-to-back promotions.
What are Walsall getting? At Step Two level, 23-year-old Jellis has shown himself to be a consummate all-round midfielder. He specialises in ball-winning and interceptions and has the stamina and energy of a Duracell bunny. But he’s more than just a ratter – Jellis can play a bit too.
The step up to EFL football after playing Step 3 just six months earlier is a big one, so it’d be foolish to expect JJ to come in and hit the ground running. Nevertheless, it’ll be fascinating to see how Walsall handle his development.
VERDICT: LOVE IT
Luke Jephcott (ST) - [St Johnstone - Newport] - Free transfer
Huw Jenkins’ majority takeover of Newport County was confirmed yesterday and today they kick off the “Jenkins Era” by announcing the free transfer signing of Luke Jephcott from St Johnstone.
A new owner. A new striker. And they're playing Manchester United this weekend! And it's Jephcott's 24th birthday today! Newport is the place to be right now.
Jephcott comes with perceived predatory penalty box instincts, stemming from the very start of his senior career – he scored back-to-back braces on just his third and fourth senior league starts for Plymouth Argyle and went on to score 23 goals in 36 league matches between January 2021 and February 2022.
However, those instincts haven't proven consistent: since that purple patch, it's just 17 goals in 101 league appearances with Argyle, Swindon and St Johnstone. On top of that, his somewhat old-school 'fox in the box' profile reflects the fact that Jephcott lacks some of the other desirable qualities of a modern EFL striker, particularly the physical attributes.
To get the best results from him Newport need to deploy him with a strike partner who is mobile and physical, and this they have. Conceivably, Jephcott alongside one of Will Evans, Seb Palmer-Houlden or Omar Bogle works.
If this move goes well there’s plenty of upside for Newport, although they should not be expecting a repeat of the rumoured £3m Plymouth Argyle reportedly turned down for the player. With their budget, and with Bogle out injured for a period, a striker was needed for depth, and they've gone and got one.
Jephcott has his doubters. This move presents him with the opportunity to silence them.
VERDICT: ON THE FENCE
Radek Vitek (GK) - [Manchester United - Accrington] - Loan
Accrington’s need for a new goalkeeper was dire. Toby Savin isn’t trusted and QPR’s Joe Walsh is back at Loftus Road after helping Accy out on an emergency loan. Giant Czech Vitek is highly regarded at Old Trafford, and in his first senior loan he’ll have the opportunity to better his new side’s record of 1.41 goals conceded per game.
VERDICT: LIKE IT
Stephen Duke-McKenna (AM) - [QPR - Sutton Utd] - Loan to end of season
Four bodies in the building already, and Steve Morison isn't stopping there in his quest to save Sutton from relegation.
It's not entirely clear exactly what Duke-McKenna's level is, nor his natural position or role. He didn't make a league start in an injury-hit loan spell with Leyton Orient, played in a number of different roles for Torquay, including attacking midfield, right wing and even right back (...and deeper in central midfield in small bursts for QPR).
QPR fan Lee from NTT20 Squad describes him as 'a tricky attacking midfielder' and 'a tenacious player who likes to snap into tackles'. We guess that he'll be challenging N'Guessan and Beautyman for minutes in an attacking #8 role, looking to raise the ceiling of Sutton's attack.
Plenty to like in that description, and now is the time for the 23-year-old to prove those qualities in League Two.
VERDICT: ON THE FENCE
Josh Walker (ST) - [Burton Albion - Gillingham] - Loan
Gillingham have added to their collection of strikers by signing 26-year-old Josh Walker on loan from Burton Albion.
He returns closer to home after a difficult spell in the East Midlands, starting just 11 league games after a six-figure move and now joins a high-profile collection of strikers: Ollie Hawkins, Tom Nichols, Macauley Bonne and Ashley Nadesan.
Walker provides something different. He is sharp, pacy, dribbly and proved during his spell with Dagenham and Redbridge that he can find the net consistently. The big question surrounds game time given his new competition.
VERDICT: ON THE FENCE
Done Deals Daily is brought to you by Ali Maxwell, George Elek, Huw Davies, Craig Bradley, Ryan Deeney and the NTT20 Squad hivemind — go well!
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