Done Deals Daily #8
A 2021/22 wonderkid returns, two of the Championship's biggest clubs do business, and a 'club record' fee...
When seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea. Welcome to Done Deals Daily.
Fabio Carvalho (AM/W) - [Liverpool - Hull] - Loan
Under Marco Silva in 2021/22, Fabio Carvalho was one of the best players in the Championship, taking the league by storm. The fact he is returning to this division again now is somewhat surprising – but thrilling for Hull City fans.
On his day, the diminutive attacking midfielder is a magical footballer capable of the extraordinary. Excellent in tight spaces, creative, collaborative and a goal threat.
Sadly, those days have been at a premium at both Liverpool and Leipzig – game time is urgently needed. He made a decent impression at first under Jurgen Klopp, yet didn’t truly ignite, and struggled to break into the Liverpool team. Likewise, a lack of physicality and match sharpness saw him struggle for minutes at Leipzig this season, hence the early recall.
All Liverpool want from Fabio is regular game time, and playing in a Hull team with fellow loanee Tyler Morton, as well as some other hugely talented footballers, is exactly what he needs to kickstart his career.
If Carvalho hits the ground running, this could undoubtedly be one of the signings of January, and one we are extremely excited to see develop.
RATING: LOVE IT
Luke Ayling (RB) [Leeds - Middlesbrough] - Loan
Ayling leaves Leeds with fans calling him a ‘modern day Leeds legend’. Equally, there’s been a general acceptance that further game-time is unlikely. Having started the first seven league games of the season, he fell quickly down Daniel Farke’s right-back pecking order and out of the squad altogether.
At 32, and only three games away from 500 league appearances, Ayling should have plenty to offer in terms of experience and dressing room leadership. It’s not entirely clear how much of a difference he will make to Boro on the pitch - right-back has been a problem area for them all season, but they play a similar style and have similar objectives to Leeds, who don’t consider him to be up to it.
RATING: ON THE FENCE
Tyler Burey (FWD) - [Odense - Oxford] - Loan
When most of your attacking players are either injured, recalled from their loans or both, signing someone who can play across the frontline seems like a good place to start your January business.
Burey nearly joined Oxford in the summer, but opted for OB in Denmark instead where he has had a torrid time, not featuring at all since mid-November and only fleetingly before then. He’s a pacy, direct goal threat, whose favourite move is to cut in off the left onto his stronger right foot and either shoot or recycle the ball inside.
There’s no denying his talent, but we’ve only seen flashes so far at Millwall and on loan at Hartlepool. At 22 y/o this feels like a pivotal move for him, but there is too much inconsistency to be sold on it.
RATING: ON THE FENCE
Joe Lewis (CB) - [Stockport - Wimbledon] - Undisclosed
While Wimbledon fans were cartwheeling at the news that Joe Lewis’ loan has been made permanent, it was quietly announced that their other Stockport loanee, Connor Lemonheigh-Evans, was being recalled.
Not ideal, as Lemonheigh-Evans has become a valuable member of the team, but equally no doubt that Lewis was the #1 priority.
Reports of a record transfer fee in the ‘AFC Wimbledon era’ would put this in excess of £150,000, a hefty transfer fee for League Two level.
Quality, consistent, dependable centre-back partnerships are so valuable. Like sleeping babies, you do everything you can not to disrupt one. Lewis and Ryan Johnson (also signed from Stockport) have been strong all season — Wimbledon’s bulletproof vest. 24 and 27 years old, a right-footer and a left-footer, both strong defenders, competent on the ball, fit and available.
The fee makes me wince a little, but it’s not my money… in fact, some of it came directly from Dons celebrity fan, fiction writer John Green - as he explains here. Lovely stuff.
RATING: LIKE IT
Luca Ashby-Hammond (GK) - [Fulham - Notts County] - Loan
No doubt this was a big need for Notts — Opta Analyst’s League Two Goals Prevented chart shows that goalkeepers Aidan Stone and Sam Slocombe shot-stopping conceded 40 non-penalty goals from 29.2 xG against.
You’ll notice Luca Ashby-Hammond’s name in between - his shot-stopping stats were also poor in a loan spell at Crawley. It’s worth remembering that GK stats and performance can be volatile in small sample sizes and shouldn’t be taken as a gospel measure of quality.
If Notts’ yet-to-be-appointed manager wants to maintain their current playing style, the team’s keeper needs to be comfortable sweeping, composed on the ball, and ready to face a lot of clear shots at goal. It’s a demanding role.
RATING: ON THE FENCE
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