What a successful transfer window would look like for Luton Town.
With the World Cup over and the Championship returning, squads will be looking ahead to the up and coming January transfer window that opens in just over a week. Although the January window isn't a point where many clubs go all out and splash their cash, it is an opportunity to fill gaps, steal a star or get in a much-needed loan player.
This transfer window will be a first for the recently-appointed Luton boss Rob Edwards. The ex-Forest Green man has spoken about strengthening his squad this winter as the Hatters have racked up a hefty injury list. With seven first-team starters out, Edwards is still missing Woodrow, Onyedinma, Potts, Bradley, Lansbury, Burke and Shea. Although Woodrow, Potts and Burke are expected to return soon, it would be a missed opportunity to not make some signings during the window because even when Luton has a full squad there are clearly still positions to strengthen.
The first being a versatile defender, predominately a centre-back. Even though Luton have an impressive roster of centre backs, including Wales international Tom Lockyer, Reece Burke and Sonny Bradley, already this season we have seen the likes of Amari Bell, Dan Potts and James Bree stepping into a central defensive role, when they're naturally full/wing backs. Despite losing Player of the Season Kal Naismith, the Hatters have certainly made amends at the back, but his presence is a place that needs to be filled. Whether Rob Edwards can find a player ready to fill that role this January is another question.
Despite the lack of defensive cover Luton had before the international break, they managed to keep grinding out results and a month off for the FIFA World Cup has allowed some recovery time for those players who were carrying knocks. Coming back from injury in the next few weeks should be Potts, Burke and Lansbury, whilst Bell remains sidelined for the next game due to suspension; making Boxing Day a real test for Rob Edwards' back line. Although those four defenders should be back soon enough, Luton may be waiting a bit more time for club captain Sonny Bradley.
Another position that potentially needs addressing to is the defensive midfield department. Currently, Luton have Henri Lansbury who is out injured and Glen Rea who has been injured and lacked Championship experience for months. Pelly Ruddock, Allan Campbell, Jordan Clark and Gabe Osho have filled in for the duo when needed. Whilst Clark, Campbell and Pelly tend to play in more attacking roles, they have provided cover in some capacity when required in the position just in front of the defence. As for Gabe Osho, unfortunately, when given the chance he appeared overwhelmed and out of control in this role, although this may come down to inexperience he may need some more time to adapt to the role. With Lansbury picking up regular injuries as he nears the end of his successful career, Luton will need to find someone new soon so they can learn from him whilst there's still a chance. Bringing a defensive midfielder this January would be the perfect opportunity as they may go straight into the team under Edwards and they will still have time to gain knowledge from Lansbury in case he decides to depart come the end of the season.
Though people may disagree that Luton needs to build forces in their attacking element, some business could be done in January. The Hatters may be able to spark a deal without having to break the bank, to bolster their attack recalling Carlos Mendes Gomes could be an idea. The winger has been enjoying a spell in League One at Fleetwood Town and has quickly become a fan favourite, recalling Gomes could help add that little bit of extra strength to the Luton attack. Where Luton have Adebayo and Morris to fire the goals in, the Hatters currently lack a player to score in the moments it matters. Although Luke Berry has been the man to do that in the past, his minutes seem numbered in a Luton shirt as of late due to the arrival of Luke Freeman. Gomes has proved he can score in moments it matters and he might give Luton a little bit of magic when they need it.
If Luton do not opt to recall Gomes, it may be a case of looking at bringing another experienced attacker like Cameron Jerome to provide that bit of extra help to the attack.
All in all, to have a successful January transfer window, Rob Edwards needs to reinforce his defence whether that be through loans, free transfer or spending bigger than usual, but along with that, adding to the attack to help Luton go that extra mile again this season.
by Jacob Blackwood