As an Exeter City fan you’d be forgiven for perhaps not having transfer deadline day circled in your diary. As a general rule for the Grecians, the close of a transfer window tends to be a quiet affair, granted both Luke Croll and Jack Stacey joined on loan on deadline day last season but this season City’s team looked pretty complete perhaps with the exception for cover at right-back.
Yet as the final days of the window approached, City fans have been pleasantly surprised with rumours of incoming players. Initially it looked as though the club may have been trying to bring in some young players from Tottenham on loan, then before you knew it more and more players were linked with the likes of Hiram Boateng, Kane Wilson and Sean Goss (a former Exeter academy product himself,) being touted. Then came the big one, news that Aberdeen were prepared to let Jayden Stockley leave the club having brought in two new strikers themselves this summer. City fans will remember Stockley well from his time on loan at SJP from Bournemouth.
Of course, football is a money game and for any new arrivals, the books would have t be balanced with a departure. In this case it was David Wheeler who was to leave us, City’s top scorer from last season going to QPR in a deal thought to be worth around £500,000. As difficult as it is to lose your best players, even more so when they’re your top scorer, I believe that this deal signals another piece of good business for the club. Realistically, Wheeler was in the last year of his contract and had he gone for nothing in the summer, we wouldn’t have the opportunity to replace him with a player of the quality of Stockley let alone be able to tie him down to a long term deal.
Despite having lost three of our best players this summer in Wheeler, Watkins and Ampadu, there still seems to be a real positive auora around Exeter this summer and the quality arrivals such as Moxey, Stockley, Brunt, Croll and Boateng as well as promising loan players such as Wilson and Edwards mark an improvement in squad depth something that will be crucial to any success of the side this season. What’s perhaps even more impressive about these deals is the fact that City have been able to get these players in on permanent deals, fighting off bigger clubs with bigger budgets in the process. Rewind 12 months and I doubt the Grecians would have been able to sign these players on much more than short term loan deals.
Overall, I believe that this transfer window has been a very successful one for Exeter City, by bringing in a player of Stockley’s quality for a record transfer fee is a signal of intent by the club. At a time where the stadium is having redevelopment work done to it to modernise the facilities for the fans, bringing in young and exciting football players on permanent deals who could sign for sides in the leagues above shows ambition at SJP and proves that exciting times lie ahead in the South West.
Of course, it’s still early days, in losing Watkins and Wheeler this summer, that’s over 35 goals that need to be replaced if the side are going to challenge at the top of the league. However, the initial signs are encouraging, we sit at the top of the table after 4 games and remain unbeaten and this is before we bring in our deadline day signings and the likes of Moxey and Harley back from injury. My assessment of the team at the close of the window (well, with 5 and a half hours to go) is that Exeter City are a force to be reckoned with this season.
Follow us on Twitter @lionmaskpod
Listen to us on Soundcloud
Subscribe to us on iTunes