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  • Writer's pictureBilly Mulley

Luton Town's summer transfer window - ORH have their say

Luton Town welcomed 12 fresh faces to Kenilworth Road during the summer transfer window, with Hatters' fans already catching glimpses of all the recent additions, bar Sambi Lokonga and Teden Mengi.

In order to pave the way for so many new arrivals, Luton had to part company with lots of players, waving goodbye to the likes of Glen Rea, Luke Freeman, Henri Lansbury and Sonny Bradley, whilst sanctioning loan departures for a further 10 individuals.

Whilst we wait for the international break to pass, here, we take a look at how some members of Oak Road Hatter viewed the summer transfer window from a Town perspective, with Billy Mulley, Lewis Jones, Alex Oakhill and George Litchfield providing answers...

Q: Which summer signing caught you most by surprise?

BM: It took me a while to fully process the fact that we had signed Ross Barkley and he was certainly the standout when it comes to the most surprising addition. Another pleasant surprise was the late arrival of Sambi Lokonga and I am excited to see the plan for the Arsenal loanee as he continues to prepare himself for his Luton Town stint.

LJ: There’s only one correct answer here and it is Ross Barkley. I don’t think anyone in a million years thought this would have been a possibility, even with his increasing age and stop/start career recently.

AO: The Ross Barkley signing was the one that came most out of the blue for me. With all the others you had rumours of interest beforehand but with Barkley the announcement shocked almost everyone!

GL: I think a lot of people here are going to say Ross Barkley! I remember a couple of days after the playoff final scrolling through a list of summer free agents and jokingly throwing out names like Barkley, Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Diego Costa - but I never thought we’d actually sign any of them. It made it even more of a surprise when our approach before he was announced was clearly following our policy of picking up potential bargains who can develop with us. I think as the season progresses his quality and calmness on the ball could be really important for us.

Q: Which summer signing has the potential to be the best?

BM: I think if you purely look at the 12 names and how high the ceiling is, it has to be Lokonga, however, he is only a Luton player for the season. I am drawn to two names outside of Lokonga and they are Jacob Brown and Teden Mengi.

Brown has hit the ground running and has made a big impact from the bench in the Premier League so far, whilst he was the best player on the pitch against Gillingham in the Cup. As for Mengi, he is hungry, athletic and technically-impressive who has the potential to thrive at Kenilworth Road this season and beyond.

LJ: For me, I’m looking at this season and then past this season. For this season I would say Lokonga, he comes with a certain pedigree and I think RE can improve him. Past this season, I think it’s Giles. Despite a bit of a rocky start, there’s a player who I believe we can keep for years and years, or sell for double figures.

AO: I think if everything goes right, Barkley has the potential to become the signing of the summer. There’s undoubted technical ability there, so if he can get match fit and put in the work off the ball he will be vital to the Hatters’ survival chances.

GL: Thinking in the long-term. I’m going to have to go for Ryan Giles. While so far I’d say he has arguably looked a bit questionable defensively, I think as he gets used to the level and improves he could turn into a brilliant signing for us. He’s only 23, and his ability to create chances from the wingback and delivery into the box are exceptional. Combine that with his pace, and a little more solidness in the gritty side of the game - and he could be an outstanding acquisition.

Q: Which summer signing do you think has gone under the radar the most?

BM: With my aforementioned comments about Mengi, he has to be in contention here, however, I am going to opt for Chiedozie Ogbene.

The 26-year-old arrived very early on in the summer window and has subsequently had a lot of time to settle in and to adapt to the tactical demands of Premier League football under Rob Edwards. I want to see Ogbene as high up the pitch as possible and he has shown in glimpses so far that he can carve out openings and get bums off seats.

With the addition of Lokonga, there is scope for Edwards to be more tactically flexible and adaptable with his formations, something that could lead the way for Ogbene to operate on the wing more often.

LJ: I think it’s quite difficult to say at this stage of the season, but I would say Teden Mengi. He’s only young and trained of the Man United first team squad for years. I don’t think you can under estimate that experience.

AO: Teden Mengi was an incredibly smart piece of business for me, and one that has definitely gone under the radar. At first, when it was rumoured we were using one of our loan spots for him I was slightly apprehensive. However, the fact he’s signed a permanent deal gives us scope to develop him over time if he isn’t immediately ready for Premier League football.

GL: I genuinely think Mads Andersen to be honest. Quite a few people likely saw him as cover for Lockyer and nothing more, but given the huge jump he’s made from playing in the third tier - I think his performances have been very solid. Picking the 25-year old up on a free from Barnsley (as per!) could be another astute piece of recruitment from our team, and no doubt he’s someone we’ve been looking at for a long time.

Q: It was 12 summer signings - Did you expect that number?

BM: I think if you would have asked me at the start of summer how many players we would sign, 12 would be at the higher end of a range I would have given.

As successful as the core of the squad was under Edwards during the second half of last season, we needed to add higher-level quality and experience, whilst our Premier League status evidently allowed us to recruit players that were previously unattainable.

LJ: It was said at the start of the season that it would be about nine or 10, then once RE evaluated the squad I think he realised that a few more players were required. Also injuries to Potts, Osho and Clark rather forced his hand.

AO: 12 Summer Signings was probably a couple more than I expected. I think we were forced to bring in a few more than originally planned due to injuries picked up in pre season. This may mean it takes slightly longer for the squad to gel together.

GL: Definitely around the 10+ ballpark. It’s not a dissimilar number to the turnover we’ve had in other seasons as Gary Sweet himself has said, and I think we were always going to use this opportunity to invest in our playing squad substantially. It’s important that we improved our depth, and so I always think it was going to be a case of spreading our budget over a number of signings in different positions rather than a few expensive ones. I am glad a few of the stalwarts of our promotions like Potts and Berry have been given the opportunity to stay with us though, even if their game time may be fairly limited.

Q: It is expected that Luton Town spent between £15-20 million in the summer transfer window - Did you expect that?

BM: I expected a figure that was probably marginally higher than the expected figure that we spent in the summer, however, I am impressed that we were able to bring in the quality we did for such a minimal fee.

LJ: If I’m honest, I expected more. I did not expect it to be 40/50 million per se, I saw around the 30/35 million mark.

AO: I think most Luton fans knew that the spending wouldn’t be anywhere near the likes of even Nottingham Forest or Bournemouth, and the £15-£20 million mark was around what I expected. Gary Sweet and the board were never going to risk the long term future of the club and so it has proved.

GL: The 20-30m mark was what I was thinking before any transfers, given the cost of upgrading Kenilworth Road and the vast amount of money needed to help fund Power Court. We were never going to do a Forest like Alex said, and so 20m is a fair amount to make a long-term investment in our playing squad without putting us in any form of danger should we go back down. While we’d all love to stay up, I think we’re probably going to give it a good go with the knowledge that we’ll be in a strong position if we go down. If we then came back up subsequently - we’d be in more of a place to spend more of our Premier League money purely on players.

Q: Do you think Luton Town are well enough equipped until January?

BM: If you look at how the team looks now, most Town fans will believe that we possess a squad that is capable of surviving the drop.

The one area I would have liked to have strengthened further is the LCB position, and that is by no means a dig at Amari'i Bell. The Jamaican international has shown excellent versatility during his time at Kenilworth Road but further competition for that LCB spot would have been ideal.

LJ: Yes, and no. If I had to rate the window I would give it a 7.5 out of 10. We brought players in the areas we needed it, but I was keen to see is bring in a more established left centre half and right wing back cover. I do worry if there is an injury to Doughty Kaboré or Giles until January.

AO: If everyone stays full fit, then I believe Rob Edwards certainly has enough players at his disposal to get us through to January. However, we are only a couple of defensive injuries away from being in a bit of trouble.

GL: A few injuries in defence could pose a tricky problem given it’s not clear when Osho will be back fit, and Potts is likely to be out for a while longer with Ligament damage. But I think pending disaster, we should be fine until January - and have plenty of options in midfield and our attack too.

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1 commentaire

13 sept. 2023

Andersen was not free - around £2.5-3 million!

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