Wow. That was certainly one of the most hectic deadline days I can ever remember.
Across the EFL, we saw a number of high profile moves happen – but also many fall through at the last minute! Marcus Maddison’s move to Bolton was a big shock; Ryan Bowman’s Cheltenham switch collapsing at the last minute provided some drama.
Personally, I was glued to Twitter all afternoon despite having a Uni exam to complete – oops. But, hey, this only happens twice a year – and I still beat my own deadline and got the assignment done in time!
So, here are five of my favourite League One Deadline Day signings from yesterday. There have almost certainly been a number of great, late additions I’ve missed on this list – so please drop any suggestions in the comments below!
Brandon Barker – Oxford United (loan)
Brandon Barker may have found his career stall somewhat in recent years, but Karl Robinson is the best manager going under whom to reignite it.
Barker – who was a Robinson target back in 2016 whilst he was at MK Dons – came through at Man City and was a prolific scorer in their youth ranks. However, after some unproductive loan spells both in the Championship and abroad, he was shipped north of the border to Rangers in 2019.
Since arriving at Ibrox, he’s faced similar struggles and found himself limited to minimal chances off of the bench. A loan switch to Oxford has followed and, as I’ve mentioned, I think Karl Robinson could be the man to get the winger going with his excellent youth record.
He’ll have to be competitive to get into the U’s starting lineup – but he’s shown his talent previously, and certainly shouldn’t be written off at the age of just 24.
Matt Smith – Charlton Athletic (loan)
Arsenal academy graduate Matt Smith saw his loan cut short at Swindon Town before being sent back out on loan to a Lee Bowyer Addicks side who have failed to meet expectations somewhat this season.
Despite his team’s struggles, Smith proved to be a big hit at the County ground, contributing three assists and two goals in 24 outings. For some fans, reading through the Twitter announcement, he was their best player.
But clearly the Gunners hierarchy weren’t happy enough. Recalled at lunchtime yesterday, he now finds himself back in the capital at The Valley.
I’m personally very excited to see what Smith will be able to achieve in a team like Charlton’s. Though they’ve perhaps not met their own high expectations so far this campaign, they’re still a top six side – and promotion is very much still on the cards.
Will Grigg – MK Dons (loan)
Things certainly haven’t worked out in the North East for striker Will Grigg – but he may have just been handed a lifeline by Russ Martin at MK Dons.
The Dons signed their 2014/15 top scorer on loan from the Stadium of Light for the rest of the season, with some sources suggesting they will be paying as little as 25% of his wages.
It looked as if the deal had fallen through by 8pm – Danny Graham departing the Stadium of Light with hints flying round that Johnson may want to hold onto Grigg as cover – but the player made very clear his intention to move on and was announced an MK man at 11pm.
Grigg certainly won’t be the 20-goal striker the Dons had back in 2014/15 – but that’s okay. He’ll provide some much-needed support for out-and-out goalscorer Cameron Jerome, who in recent weeks has found himself having to play a deeper role after Carlton Morris’ departure to Barnsley.
A great short-term option for the Dons, who may look to extend the move into the new season next summer if possible.
Troy Parrott – Ipswich Town (loan)
Highly rated teenage striker Troy Parrott swapped South London for Suffolk, cutting short his loan spell at Millwall to link up with Paul Lambert’s Ipswich Town.
Parrott, born in Dublin and initially part of the well-recognised Belvedere setup, has been capped at all youth levels for the Republic of Ireland as well as having made two senior appearances for Jack’s army.
His time at the Den was probably one to forget, though. A medium-term ankle injury kept him out for the first two months before then struggling to make an impact upon his return, failing to score in eleven outings and then finding himself out of favour.
But at only 18-years-old – 19 on Thursday – the youngster has plenty to prove and could prove to be a huge hit at Portman Road if he gets firing as the Tractor Boys look to get their promotion chase back on track.
Ryan Broom – Burton Albion (loan)
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s Burton Albion might be sat rock bottom of League One at the minute – but it’s clear that, based on some of their work this window, they have no intentions of going down without a fight. Broom is an excellent example of that.
Ryan Broom came through the ranks at Bristol Rovers, but it was at Cheltenham Town he made his name. In 2019/20, he made 14 goal contributions (8G + 6A) from midfield as Michael Duff’s side were narrowly pipped in the Play-Offs by Northampton.
As they always seem to do with players succeeding in tiers below them, Peterborough United came calling and sealed the 24-year-old’s signature last summer.
Broom appeared set to be a first-choice option at Posh but the arrival of Sammie Szmodics hindered that, and the Rovers academy graduate has found himself shipped out midway through the season to find gametime elsewhere.
Still, at Cheltenham he showed exactly the quality he has – and he could easily provide the spark the Brewers need to help them perform the great escape.
Zac Jules – MK Dons (undisclosed fee)
Here’s one that may have fallen out of the spotlight somewhat given other news at Stadium:MK last night. Jules could be an excellent option looking further down the years, joining for a fee believed to be around the £100k mark.
After rumours had been circulating for just over a week, around 11am it became known on Twitter that Milton Keynes had beaten off a number of teams in both League One and the Championship to agree a fee with Walsall for left-sided defender Jules.
The defender – a centre back by trade but having spent the vast majority of his time at the Bescot Stadium at left-back – departed his boyhood club Reading in 2017 to link up with Shrewsbury, but after failing to make an appearance at Salop made the move to Macclesfield Town in 2019.
His Silkmen spell proved to be far more successful, playing an integral role in Sol Campbell’s side narrowly avoiding relegation to the National League, and Jules earned himself a move to newly relegated Walsall for an undisclosed fee.
Whilst Jules might not immediately find himself as a starter at MK, he provides some much-needed cover and competition at the back for a Dons defence somewhat short on numbers. Looking further forward, he could be the replacement for long-standing captain Dean Lewington, who currently regularly occupies the left-sided centre back role in the team.
But are there any other names I’ve missed? Be sure to drop them in the comments below, or Tweet us in on @FanHub_Football!