Gillingham are the latest club to join the race to sign Sutton United midfielder Alistair Smith according to reports by Darren Witcoop.
The midfielder is reportedly being targeted by Lincoln, as per reports came out earlier this month. It was suggested he was in talks with the Imps, but he could be waiting to see what options come his way.
Gillingham have now joined the race to sign the 24-year-old, who is available for free after his two-year deal expired with Sutton United. The versatile midfielder picked up the Young Player Of The Season Award last campaign, and evidence shows he could have his choice of clubs this summer.
There were talks of Sutton United offering him a new contract, but it looks like The U’s player will move on a free next season after being a mainstay in the League Two side for the last two seasons.
Lincoln’s Midfield Situation
Smith could be exactly what The Imps need this summer after losing key players at the end of the season. Mark Kennedy’s men lost the services of Matty Virtue, who returned to Blackpool after a season-long loan. Max Sanders will also leave The LNER Stadium at the end of the season, it was confirmed he was one of three players to leave the club when his contract expires.
The loss of these personnel leaves Lincoln needing both numbers and quality of players to be replaced- Alistair Smith could be a shrewd signing for free.
Gillingham Post Takeover
Gillingham have been making improvements after Brad Galinson’s takeover. Neil Harris’ men finished 17th last season after finding themselves in the bottom two earlier in the season.
The takeover of the club has enabled The Gills to sign a higher calibre of players, with the likes of George Lapslie, Tom Nichols and Conor Masterson joining the League Two side.
The owners of Gillingham have often suggested they want to get back to where they feel they belong, and battling League One clubs for a transfer would indicate they mean business this year in the hopes to return to League One next season.
As stated before, Alistair Smith’s next move is an important one, The midfielder would surely want to go somewhere his football will develop and he gets regular game time as he did with Sutton.
Smith can be a top talent and will have the chance to showcase his talent at either club, Harris will undoubtedly give him the belief and freedom to fire The Gills up the league. The signing would offer a combative option to partner with the likes of Timothee Dieng and would show real intent of wanting to achieve next season.
Smith, in my opinion, could become a focal point in the Lincoln City midfield partnering with Ethan Erhahon. Signing for the Imps would add real quality to their side as they look to improve on last season. Smith gives Lincoln a platform to build their midfield around, he would add a spark to their team and potentially be a catalyst for more quality signings. A move for Smith and maybe a return for Virtue would put Lincoln in a strong position next campaign.
In summary, I believe Smith, given the choice should sign for Lincoln. He should be aiming for playing in League One and pushing on from there. If the signing came off and he made a lot of positive noise, not only would The Imps benefit, but it enables him to potentially move on in the future to an even higher standard.
I believe Gillingham will be a promotion candidate this season, and Smith could be a big part of that, but given the chance, I’d take being a key player in the higher division.