Lincoln City seem to have missed out on the signature of former Everton winger Josh Bowler, after he entered advanced talks with promoted Blackpool.
It was little under a fortnight ago that the two clubs met in the League One play-off final, with a Kenny Dougall brace giving the Tangerines a spot in the Championship, at the expense of Michael Appleton’s side. It was third-time unlucky for Appleton, who twice lost at Wembley with Oxford United, and the result means they have now missed out on the capture of Bowler.
22-year-old Bowler joined Everton from Queens Park Rangers in 2017 for £1.5m, rising to £4.25m despite the wideman never making a Championship start for the Hoops. He never quite cracked it at Goodison but appeared 28 times in the Championship on loan at Hull City. After four tough years as a blue he was allowed to depart Everton on a free transfer.
Despite Lincoln’s interest, it seems he is set to join up with Neil Critchley at Bloomfield Road, after bidding farewell to Everton this week. “Thank you to every single fan, every player I’ve played with and every coach that’s helped me throughout my time at Everton,” he wrote on his Instagram page. “I’m excited for the next chapter.”
If he does indeed sign for the Tangerines, he will be their fourth signing of a busy summer. Reece James, Daniel Grimshaw and striker Shayne Lavery have all signed this week, with more expected. Critchley looks set to move for Leeds United defender Oliver Casey on a permanent deal before the weekend.
Lincoln have ambition, and that is reflected in their transfer targets, but the lure of Championship football is sure to be too much for Bowler. Blackpool will need all the recruits they can get for a challenging campaign ahead of them, and Bowler is sure to fit right in with the experience he has.
As for Michael Appleton, he can put aside the speculation around West Brom as they close in on capturing David Wagner as manager, and that means new faces, sooner rather than later for the beaten play-off finalists.