Four potential targets worth considering for Walsall this summer

With Walsall expected to announce their first new signings of the summer this month, it should be a busy period for a team in need of numbers.

Aston Villa's John Terry (left) and Watford's Jerome Sinclair
Aston Villa's John Terry (left) and Watford's Jerome Sinclair

After releasing eight first-team players – and with three still locked in contract negotiations – the Saddlers will be building around half of their squad from scratch under the guise of new head coach Matt Taylor and technical director Jamie Fullarton.

Although the club’s hierarchy insist funds are available – with the add-ons from Brentford’s promotion from the Rico Henry deal expected to help – Walsall are also likely to delve into the free agent market to find some deals.

Here, Liam Keen picks out four potential options that Walsall could take up this summer.

Ryan Delaney

Ryan Delaney.

After letting captain James Clarke leave Walsall will be in need of at least one centre-back and Ryan Delaney could fit the bill.

Of course it depends on the style that Taylor wants to play, but if he wants his back-line to be no-nonsense and sturdy defenders, then Delaney may be a good option.

The 24-year-old Irishman played 23 times for Bolton last season as they were automatically promoted back to League One, but he lost his place to Alex Baptiste in January and never returned to the starting XI.

He was in talks with Bolton over a new deal in recent weeks but after falling down the pecking order the two parties failed to agree terms and he was released.

As a free agent, at a good age and with League One and League Two experience, he could be a smart addition for the Saddlers.

Jerome Sinclair

Aston Villa's John Terry (left) and Watford's Jerome Sinclair

Every free agent suggestion piece needs a wildcard option and Sinclair certainly is that, but looking at his career so far a contract in League Two could be the perfect opportunity for him.

Born in Birmingham and coming through as a youngster at Albion, he moved to Liverpool and was tipped to be the next big thing.

He has made a handful of Premier League appearances and has had several loans but now, after being released by Watford, he is at a crossroads in his career.

Last season he made nine appearances on-loan at Bulgarian side CSKA Sofia, scoring once.

He did play in Europa League games for them too, but having failed to set the world alight during his temporary spell he may not have a huge number of suitors.

Only two years ago he was on-loan with Sunderland and then Oxford United in League One, so a permanent spell in League Two is not out of the question.

His wages may be a problem, but he would surely offer a superb option in the fourth tier for a team desperate for talented wingers.

Kevin van Veen

Kevin van Veen of Scunthorpe United (AMA)

Walsall are certainly in need of strikers this summer and although van Veen will be a risk, he has a record of goals at this level.

The forward was released by Scunthorpe last month after an injury-hit season that saw him score only two goals in 21 games.

However, the Dutchman scored 15 goals the season before and 11 the season prior to that.

Perhaps, at 30-years-of-age, he is not the first option striker Walsall need, but with no forwards contracted at the club they will need several signings in those positions and van Veen offers experience and a good goalscoring record at League Two level.

Conor McAleny

Conor McAleny of Shrewsbury Town and James Bolton of Portsmouth. (AMA)

The forward, who can play as a striker or winger, is technically about to become a free agent but may be kept on at Oldham after they started contract negotiations with him.

Nevertheless, the 28-year-old could still have his head turned and he would be a superb option for Walsall.

Signed on a one-year deal from Fleetwood last summer, the former Everton man has netted 21 goals in 46 games last season for the Latics.

He proved to be one of the most exciting players in the fourth tier last season and in the prime of his career, but with an experienced background in the game behind him, Walsall would make a statement if they snapped him up.

He would offer a brilliant option on the wing, where he often played for Oldham, but with the ability to play centrally he is versatile and would suit perfectly what the Saddlers need.

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