A lot of Saddlers fans have made some excellent suggestions for players that the Board should be targeting for next season.
I understand that it will be depend on who is released and what division we (and other clubs) are in next season.
However, in an ideal world, assuming that we are a league two club next season, the priority is an experienced centre-forward who can bring on the younger players.
On a positive note, we have some excellent youngsters (Leak, Perry, Bates, Willis), so if we can do what Ray Graydon did when he signed the likes of Andy Rammell, Neil Pointon and a Tom Bennett style midfielder (surely what Guthrie was bought in to do), then we might be able to clear out the dead wood and get some momentum (a bit like Dean Smith has done this season, at the Villa).
When Adebayo was sold, goal-poacher Danny Hylton (32) was mentioned and surely he will be released by Luton at the end of the season. Another curve ball would be Liam Boyce, from Hearts, who is nailed on to score you 15 to 20 goals (but might be out of our price range). And if you wanted a ‘diamond in the rough’, Celtic have a young winger called Mikey Johnston (21) who would be an amazing loan signing (we got O’Connell, so who knows?) He would be a real ‘Darren Wrack’ winger if we can get rid of the likes of Nolan and McDonald (both who have flattered to deceive), we could push the boat out a bit. Closer to home, if Notts County fail to go up (again), Callum Roberts is still only 23 and as @geordiesaddler will tell you, is a real talent.
In terms of links to Midlands clubs, the likes of Louie Barry (on loan) have been mentioned; I also think that Kwame Thomas (from Wrexham) would be a like-for-like replacement for Elijah, in terms of height, pace and potential. Although Wrexham may have a bigger budget than us next season, we could offer league football (as we did to Andy Cook when he joined us from Tranmere).
On a non-league note, Kabongo Tshimanga (Boreham Wood) has been mentioned and, again, he could be another Morgan Ferrier or he could be a Peterboro style inspired signing…
If Rob Kelly is brought into the club at the end of the season (I can genuinely see this happening) there are a couple of players of a decent pedigree from Barrow: Luke James (26) and Scott Quigley (28 and 6"4’ with a decent goal ratio for a big man).
Others have mentioned Jamille Matt (31) at Newport (currently injured with a broken arm) but the striker I would love to see at Walsall is Ryan Taylor. 32 years old and a Northerner (Rotherham) who has spent most of his career down south in the bottom 2 divisions. Whether at Exeter, Plymouth or Newport, he always seems to score against us!
With Scrimshaw, Amond and Maynard on loan, I cast my eyes enviously over Newport’s firepower. And to think, losing to them under Whitney on their quagmire of a pitch was a real kick in the teeth a couple of seasons ago!
My point is, with the right budget, players coming from Barrow and Newport to the mighty Walsall will look at our stadium, training facilities and even connections to big cities like Birmingham, Nottingham, Sheffield, Manchester, etc, the ‘bright lights’ may come calling!
I’m trying desperately to be optimistic and positive. A statement signing of a ‘realistic’ but experienced centre-forward would be brilliant! Clearly, I’m not saying sign all of these (it’s not Championship Manager!) but if the club have a real vision for next season, we need to get in early with transfers, as Dickie Dosh did in signing the likes of Dobson in our last promotion season.