Lincoln City have moved to secure the fourth permanent deal of the summer, landing MK Dons midfielder Conor McGrandles on a free transfer.
McGrandles was under contract at MK Dons, where he was named Young Player of the Year in 2018/19, but he’s fallen out of favour with Russell Martin, who agreed to a termination, allowing The Imps to swoop in. He joins James Jones, Lewis Montsma and Ethan Ross as permanent arrivals at the club, in addition to Sean Roughan being handed a professional contract.
McGrandles began his career with Falkirk in Scotland making his debut during the 2012/13 season as a 17-year-old. He made a further 45 appearances for ‘The Bairns’ which attracted the interest of Norwich City, for whom he signed as an 18-year-old in a deal believed to be ‘worth up to £1m‘. He made his debut for the Canaries in a 6-1 win against Millwall before he returned to Falkirk on loan for the remainder of the 2015/16 season, One month into his return to Falkirk, he suffered a leg break which saw his spell back home curtailed early.
He struggled to impose himself on the first-team picture at Norwich, joining MK Dons in 2017. He featured sparingly as they slipped out of League One, but was an integral part of the squad which gained promotion the following year. He made 31 appearances last season for the Dons in League One and has been highly sought after this season, with Sunderland credited with an interest, along with Aberdeen and Hibernian.
On his move to the Imps, he said, “I’m really delighted to sign, my agent contacted me and mentioned Lincoln were interested which was something I wanted to explore and find out more about and I’m glad I did.”
“I think he has a real plan for how his team play and he has a real plan for myself, which I think will suit my style. Hopefully, with the style we’re going to play, I can also become a better player and make a contribution to the team.”
Michael Appleton is also delighted to have landed his target, saying: “Conor is a very talented attacking midfield player, who has a very good range of passing, especially in the final third. I’m very confident he will flourish in the environment we are going to create and I look forward to welcoming him into the squad.”
Whether the rumour mill is right or not is up for debate, but if it is then the capture of McGrandles is impressive by Lincoln, who have moved swiftly in the transfer market. They have now bagged four players from other clubs as they look to cement their status as a League One club, after winning League Two in 2018/19.
Whilst at Falkirk, McGrandles was hot property and whilst Mk Dons have been relaxed about letting him go, he has undoubted League One quality. He fits Michael Appleton’s current recruitment policy, which is cemented around younger players with re-sale value, but he also has plenty of League One experience.