Plymouth Argyle are reportedly interested in signing Shrewsbury defender Matthew Pennington, according to journalist Darren Witcoop.
Pennington is available on a free transfer after he decided not to renew his current contract with Shrewsbury. The defender made 42 appearances for the League One side this season, supplying six goals and three assists across all competitions. Although primarily playing for the Shrews at centre-half, Pennington was also deployed as a right-back, showcasing his versatility.
Shrewsbury finished the season in 12th place, amassing 59 points. Pennington was an integral part of this side, however he will now be moving on this summer. He is not the only key figure that is moving on from the club, with manager Steve Cotterill also leaving the New Meadow. There is uncertainty as to what’s next for the Shropshire side, and this uncertainty could be a possible reason for Pennington’s departure.
Who is Matthew Pennington?
Originally with Premier League side Everton, Pennington has a wealth of experience in English football. He managed seven Premier League appearances to his name whilst with the Toffees, boasting plenty of Championship experience to his name too having made a combined 68 appearances for Ipswich, Leeds and Hull. This experience was vital for his time at Shrewsbury, where he made 113 appearances. At 28 years of age, Pennington certainly has plenty of years still ahead of him and he would not be out of place in a Championship side.
How would he benefit Plymouth?
The Pilgrims go into the 2023/24 as underdogs having not appeared in the Championship since 2010. It has been a long wait for Argyle fans to return to the second tier, but after an incredible season which saw them win the League One title, they’re back where many believe they belong. One problem that Argyle will face is the lack of Championship experience in the side. However, they do have a manager at the top of his game in Steven Schumacher. Still, this is certainly a step-up. Bringing Pennington in would be a great deal of business given his experience in both the Premier League and Championship. The Englishman will definitely be capable in the Championship, and could be a real asset for the club in their return to the second tier.
Who else is interested?
Plenty of League One clubs are also vying for Pennington’s signature, most notably Portsmouth and Reading. Both would be good landing spots for the defender, especially Portsmouth. But, with the attractiveness of playing Championship football next season, Plymouth could well land his signature. That being said they’ll have plenty of clubs to contend with to land the 28-year-old’s services, yet he’s really the type of player they need to be looking at if they want to survive in the second tier next season.
Experience will be vital in Plymouth’s return to the Championship next season, and Pennington ticks all the boxes. Although he may not be a certain starter week in week out, being able to sign him on a free is an absolute no-brainer. Survival for their first season in the Championship in 13 years will be the aim for Argyle, and poaching some experienced free agent signings will greatly boost their chances.