January 31st is an exciting (occasionally traumatizing) day for football fans up and down the country. Whilst your granddad is sat slumped over in his armchair listening tensely to his battered old radio for any breaking last-minute deals, you’ll be on your phone refreshing social media in a frenzied rage wondering why your club hasn’t yet replaced your top goalscorer, oh the magic of deadline day.
January 2018 was no different with no fewer than 89 moves taking place in League One before the 11pm closure, undoubtedly some of the comings and goings will have a huge part to play in deciding which teams are relegated to League Two, and the sides that will gain promotion to the second tier of English football. J
One invaluable trait many teams look to add during January is experience, bringing in an older, seasoned player can make the difference both on the pitch and in the dressing room.
Relegation threatened Oldham took this on board fully during deadline day and re-secured the services of Irish hitman Eoin Doyle on loan from Preston North End. Doyle’s return of 12 goals in just 17 league games is a phenomenal record (Especially considering Oldham’s league position) and brings into question why other teams weren’t interested in tying up a deal for the 29 year-old, his contributions will be key if Oldham are to retain their League One status.
Another experienced Oldham signing that may be unfamiliar to many English fans is 29 year-old French midfielder Wilfried Moimbe. The former Nantes man has had somewhat of a sporadic career in France and moves to Oldham joining a contingent of French-born players currently at the club.
Surprise automatic promotion contenders Shrewsbury Town completed perhaps one of the most impressive pieces of deadline day business in bringing Sheffield United’s Nathan Thomas to The New Meadow. Although surplus to requirements at United, Thomas had an unbelievable spell at Hartlepool United from 2016 to 2017 netting 14 goals in 55 league games as he emerged as one of the best goalscoring wingers in the lower leagues. It remains to be seen whether Thomas can adapt to the difficulty of League One football but if anyone can get the best out of a promising loan player then its ‘Shrews’ manager Paul Hurst.
At the other end of the spectrum, clubs could be seen scrambling to sign young loanees from established Premier League and Championship sides.
The pick of the bunch was Walsall’s capture of Polish Arsenal youngster Krystian Bielik. Bielik helped guide Championship strugglers Birmingham City to safety last year making ten appearances in central defence for the Midlands club, and an underperforming Walsall side will look to the youth international for defensive consistency. West Bromwich Albion youngster Jack Fitzwater could line up alongside his fellow Premier League loanee as part of a new makeshift defence, with the 20 year-old also dropping down two leagues to lend his services.
Southend United are another side that were busy on deadline day. Both Crystal Palace forward Freddie Ladapo and Spurs winger Shayon Harrison arrived at Roots Hall, with the former penning a permanent six month contract with the club. Both have had crucial lower league experience during their careers and with time on their side, could develop into exciting goalscorers for a Southend side still recovering from the departure of long time manager Phil Brown.
The ‘Marquee signings’ were arguably left until the final two hours of the window, with Fleetwood Town and Wigan Athletic both in the mix for automatic promotion, Devante Cole’s big money move to The ‘Latics’ is sure to leave a fishy taste in the mouth of The ‘Cod Army’. Cole has been a standout player in the third tier this season and many considered him to be Championship-bound. Twelve goals this season was enough to convince table toppers Wigan that Cole was their man, and snatching away one of Fleetwood’s prize assets at the very end of the window is a shrewd piece of business indeed.
Another notable bit of business from a promotion hopeful was Shrewsbury’s acquisition of Wealdstone winger Abo Eisa, the 23 year-old was one of the hottest properties in Non-League prior to his departure and it wont be long before brother Mo Eisa is playing further up the league pyramid following an impressive first season at Cheltenham Town.
A couple of places below Shrewsbury, fourth place Scunthorpe United further reinforced their squad with the impressive loan signing of former Manchester United fullback Marnick Vermijl, a player with experience in both The Championship and the Dutch Eredevise.
Overall, the deadline day was just as hectic and busy as the window itself, with reinforcements acquired, bring on the second half of the season!