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  • Writer's pictureSamuel Roy

Luton Town forward line audit - Is anything needed?

The final edition of the Luton Town squad audit is here, and this time we will be looking at the attack. The format will be a bit different this time, as there are fewer attackers than midfielders and defenders, so I have written more detailed and longer analysis, rather than going through players one by one.

Morris celebrates with Adebayo after he scores against fellow promoted team Sheffield United

Luton Town's current forward options:

First up, let's take an in depth look at the Luton attack last season, using data from whoscored. Luton had a very strong, but not elite attack, scoring 57 goals (not including the play-offs), the 8th most in the league. Taking a closer look at these goals - 42 were from open play, 13 from set pieces, 1 penalty, and 1 own goal. These stats back up key judgements about the Luton attack, we use powerful strikers to bully opposition defences, and we are very strong from set pieces, with Adebayo being 6'4 and Morris 6'1. However, a better penalty taker is needed, with only one penalty scored all season, which was by Morris, who doesn't usually take penalties.

Last season, the combination of the taller Elijah Adebayo who can dribble past defenders and also hold the ball up, worked well with the more explosive and pacier Carlton Morris, who had an amazing eye for goal last season. Adebayo notched 8 goals and 5 assists, while Morris hit a career best 20 goals and 7 assists. Morris will no doubt be utilised heavily in the Premier League, as we will need him to be on top form if we want to succeed in staying up. Adebayo will also likely start, as he is so pivotal to the way we play, last season he didn't contribute as many goals as the year before, but his all round game is only getting better and better.

Luton recently brought in Chiedozie Ogbene from Rotherham on a free transfer, and while there is talk of him starting at right wing back, against Premier League attackers this may be a tough ask, as he usually plays right winger or striker for Rotherham recently. Ogbene is very pacey and skillful, he would be perfect to bring off the bench to run at tired defences. For Rotherham he hit a respectable 8 goals and 4 assists last season, and he has played internationally for Ireland against the likes of France and Belgium. It is unlikely he will be first choice but he should get a few games to start, and he is certainly a very exciting signing.

Cauley Woodrow endured an injury hit campaign last season, missing 16 games to injury. Most of his appearances came off the bench, where he worked hard and performed adequately, yet only scored twice. Woodrow will be hoping for a better season this time around, without as many injuries, especially because he signed a new contract recently. It is likely he will be used off the bench again, as he can also cover attacking midfield (much better at striker though.)

Joe Taylor has showed a lot of promise in the few times we have seen him in a Luton shirt, coming off the bench 5 times. His determination almost won Luton the game in the play-off final, and his penalty was confidently taken in the shootout. However, it would make sense if the pacey forward went out on loan to gain experience. Many EFL clubs will probably be lining up to take him.

What attacking recruitment could look like at Luton Town this summer?

Chiedozie Ogbene could be Luton's main attacking reinforcement this summer

It may be the case Luton don't bring in any more strikers, as it could be argued that Elijah and Morris as first choice, with Woodrow and Ogbene as backups, is sufficient enough, and funds should be spread to other areas, like central midfield, keeper and right wing back.

However, a tall and powerful striker who can rotate with the main two would be ideal. Any potential strikers need to be able to hold the ball up, win headers, and preferably be able to take a penalty. Luton have been linked to many strikers, but none have been heavily rumoured (meaning multiple reports stating that Luton are interested in the player, like there are with Chong, Nakamba and Begovic.) Of these strikers linked, notable names are Ross Stewart from Sunderland, Chuba Akpom from Middlesbrough, and Ryan Mmaee from Ferencvaros (Hungarian league team). With the exception of Mmaee, all of these would be premium options, likely costing more than £10m.

There are arguments for and against all of these options, and personally I imagine if a striker is signed, he won't be any of the three above. These are the linked players so far though, so we can have a quick look at their profiles. Ross Stewart would be a quality signing, and maybe the best suited out of the three, as he only has one year left on his contract. The caveat is that his injury issues are a major concern, and he may not even be fit to start the season, as he is recovering from an achilles injury.

Chuba Akpom was mentioned briefly earlier this summer. Like Stewart, he only has one year left remaining on his deal, and he is coming off the back of a superb season in the Championship where he won the Player of the Season award, while hitting 28 goals. The downsides are that Middlesbrough might be reluctant to sell for less than £10m, Akpom is at his best playing attacking midfield, and he has not had anywhere near as good a season as he did for Middlesbrough previously, in his whole career. So this transfer comes with risks, and it is much less likely to happen compared to the other two.

Ryan Mmaee is unique in that he is plying his trade in the Hungarian league. The scouts know more than me about Mmaee, so unfortunately I know little about him as a player. According to my research, he is a Moroccan international, he used to play in the Belgian Pro League, he is 25 and 6'1, so fits the physical profile. Preston have reportedly had a loan bid for him rejected, so he is in demand. If Luton signed him he would be taking a giant step up, but that is the case for most of our signings, to be fair. Because he is in the Hungarian league, he would be cheaper than the other two.

Another option, this time a player who hasn't been linked to Luton, is Swansea's Joel Piroe. He is rumoured to be joining Leicester, however Sky Sports reported that two unnamed Premier League sides are looking at the Dutch forward, who only has a year left on his contract. It wouldn't be surprising if he is among the options Luton are considering, but even with a year left, he would command a considerable fee, and Luton will face competition for Piroe, who has scored an incredible 41 goals in 88 Championship games. He would be my pick for striker if Luton do choose to bring someone in.

By Samuel Roy


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