Walsall comment: Sign Wes up, then sort out the squad
AS THE festive season fast approaches, football fans eagerly await the January transfer window and some new additions.
By the sounds of it, it could be a busy period for the Saddlers.
With only one relegation spot this season and the potential doom of Macclesfield on the horizon, Walsall probably don’t need to rely on this window as much as someone people originally thought.
But it’s an opportunity to make positive changes to the squad and build for the future – as Darrell Clarke is so keen to do.
Many fans have been left frustrated at how many of the summer signings have worked out.
Clarke hasn’t said so, but you would imagine he would admit that in some cases it hasn’t worked.
Some players have had injury trouble, some have been too inconsistent and some are simply not quite good enough.
You can pretty much count the successful summer signings on one hand, but the majority of them also come with hitches.
Stuart Sinclair was brilliant in the first half of the season, but has now been injured for a long spell.
Danny Guthrie has the quality when he plays, but has had three spells on the sidelines this season.
Wes McDonald has been electric at times, but has been in and out of the team.
The one name that has excelled in almost everything has been captain James Clarke.
It was a master-stroke from the manager to bring his former player to the Black Country and he’s easily been Walsall’s best defender – with a couple wonder-goals thrown into the mix.
Considering the team brought in 16 players in the summer, it’s testament to the club’s poor recruitment – and Clarke will know that.
In January, we won’t see another 16 players coming in – it isn’t feasible financially or in reality.
But we can expect a handful of additions.
Firstly, Walsall should be looking closer to home – give McDonald a new contract.
The winger has shown glimpses of brilliance and certainly enough to earn a new contract.
Reports surfaced this week that Kilmarnock and Southend are both circling for his signature if he becomes a free agent in January.
Regardless of whether the reports are accurate on those particular teams, there will be clubs looking at him.
He’s 22 years old, it would be a free transfer and he has some talent.
He’s still raw and there’s some work to be done, but he has enough to at least be offered a contract until the end of the season. Pace, flair, finishing – he offers a lot to the team that no other player can.
Elsewhere, the team could do with a similar player on the right wing, potentially another striker and perhaps a left-back after recent injuries.
Either way it’s set to be an interesting window for the club.