In the first instalment of a new mini-series, I am going to be diving into several EFL sides and discussing one area of the squad that I believe needs to be improved before the transfer window closes, whilst also speaking to fans/podcast groups from that respected club.
Today, I am going to focus on League Two side Gillingham having received a comment from the popular podcast page ‘Gills In The Blood’, the area of the squad that I am going to be focussing on is a new winger for the football club.
Neil Harris’ side have had an outstanding start to the 2023/24 League Two season, becoming the only side in the division to win all four of their opening matches. The Gills have won every match 1-0, meaning they have also earned four clean sheets in the process.
The side will have just one league game before the window closes, which is a home fixture against Colchester United this weekend, who are the only side in the league that doesn’t have a point so far but have played one less game.
However, when I posted a tweet asking supporters where they feel like their side needs to strengthen, ‘Gills In The Blood’ commented stating…
‘Still think we need one more wide option, whether that be a permanent or a loan deal. Someone with out & out pace who can play either side.’
Therefore, let’s take a look at five potential wide players that Neil Harris and his side could target before the window closes.
Gwion Edwards – Free Agent
To begin this list, I decided to focus on the experienced theme and I stumbled upon Welsh winger Gwion Edwards, who is a free agent after leaving League One side Wigan Athletic. The 30-year-old spent the second-half of last season with SPFL side Ross County.
The experienced winger has also played for the likes of Peterborough United and Ipswich Town, making over 25o appearances in the EFL to date. He would be joining the likes of Scott Malone and Jonny Williams, with the latter also being Welsh.
Edwards isn’t the fastest player on this list, but he is the most experienced in terms of appearances and is also likely to be fit, due to his loan spell in the previous campaign. However, whether the League Two side prioritises experience over youth remains to be seen.
Josh Martin – Free Agent
Focussing back onto the youth options, we have 21-year-old winger Josh Martin, who is a free agent after leaving Championship side Norwich City over the summer. Martin spent last season with League One side Barnsley, playing a part as they reached the play-off final.
However, despite scoring against Forest Green Rovers, Martin picked up an injury at the end of February and missed the remainder of the season. He can also play on either the left or right-hand side of the pitch, as well as doing a job as an attacking midfielder.
Martin has struggled with injuries during his career so far, but he also hasn’t had a permanent home due to constantly being loaned out to the likes of Doncaster, MK Dons and Barnsley. If he found a permanent home and could stay injury-free, Gillingham would have a very talented player on their hands.
Kido Taylor-Hart – Arsenal U21s
In the post from ‘Gills In The Blood’, they mentioned how Kenny Jackett (Gillingham’s director of football) was recently spotted watching an Arsenal U21s match. Therefore, using that suggestion I have picked out Arsenal U21s winger Kido Taylor-Hart.
The 20-year-old spent the second-half of last season with Derby County’s U21s, making nine appearances for the Rams, scoring once during a 5-1 loss to Middlesbrough U21s. Taylor-Hart also made two appearances in last season’s EFL Trophy campaign, against both Cambridge and Ipswich Town.
The winger has suffered with a bad injury in the past, which has halted his development at the Premier League side. Therefore, if he was granted permission to go out on loan, he would possess the motivation and determination to succeed and his hunger could play a major boost to Gillingham’s attacking options for the campaign.
Will Bapaga – Free Agent
A player that I am very familiar with, is former Coventry City U21s winger Will Bapaga, who became a free agent in the summer. Bapaga has played a starring role in the club’s U21s, but following a change in tactics over the last few seasons, he fell out of favour and was allowed to leave.
Bapaga had a successful loan spell with Grimsby Town during their National League promotion season, demonstrating his pace and raw talent, as well as adding prolificness in the final third. This was something he lacked prior to his loan spell.
The 20-year-old is without a club after he left the Championship side and would be eager to join a side that are firmly on the rise, such as Gillingham. He’d also be able to learn from the more experienced players at the club and would be a strong cover option, rising to a first-team talent as well as being a cheap and low-risk option.
Jordan Ibe – Free Agent
Finishing the list we have the former Liverpool and Bournemouth winger Jordan Ibe, who has been without a club since July 2022. This was following his release by Turkish side Adnaspor after making zero appearances during a six-month spell.
The 27-year-old has recently been training with National League side Chesterfield, but Paul Cook opted against signing him due to the club already having enough attacking options at their disposal.
Admittedly, this is a bold call, given he hasn’t played any first-team football since 2021. However, Jordan Ibe has a lot of quality and experience and is still a few years away from the prime years of his career and if Gillingham took a risk, they would be dealing with one of the division’s most talented players.
What are your thoughts on this list? Is there anyone from this list that you’d like to sign?