5 U23 Players Town Should Sign


Town has been in need of a rebuild since their relegation from the Premier League and this summer should provide the club with an opportunity, since there are over 10 players out of contract.
For Town to progress up the league, they are going to need to make some smart signings. League 1 and 2 have provided the Championship with a number of quality players. In Town's case, Josh Koroma and Harry Toffolo and if you look at the rest of the division, players such as Rico Henry, Bradley Dack and Championship top scorer Ivan Toney, have all come from League One or Two.
On that note, here are 5 U23s from the EFL and SPFL that Town should consider signing.

Owen Dale - Right Winger

A product of Crewe's illustrious youth system, Dale has seen an exciting rise to the first-team squad from playing in the National League North for Altrincham in 2018/19, to being Crewe's top scorer with 8 league goals this season. Dale was named League One player of the month for December, where he scored 4 in 6 games including a stunning overhead kick.
Owen operates primarily on the right of a front three, although can also play on the left. I think he could potentially be a replacement for Isaac Mbenza, who I would expect to leave in the summer.
He is only 22, so if he is not ready for first-team action next season, I certainly think after 1 loan move away he would be ready. He fits the club's philosophy of signing high performing lower league players for a relatively cheap price, who then can be sold on for a profit.

Charlie Kirk - Left Winger

Staying in Crewe, Charlie Kirk is a left-winger who was the Railwaymen's standout player in promotion from League Two to League One, where he scored 7 and assisted 14.
Kirk can play as a left winger or an inverted left winger, due to him being right footed. This gives Town some in-game tactical flexibility due to his ability to play in either role. I think Kirk is most like Mbenza in the current Town side even though they play on opposite wings, since they both chip in with goals, but also provide for their teammates. Kirk has 5 goals and 5 assists this season as Crewe sit nicely in mid-table in League One.
Even though he is 23, Kirk is vastly experienced, having made already 197 professional appearances. He would be an unknown quantity at this level, but as I was saying previously with Ivan Toney, he has taken the step up effortlessly from League One and it is down to his experience. If Kirk can even replicate half of what Toney has achieved at Brentford, he would be a successful signing.

Hakeem Odoffin - Central Midfielder/ Centre Back

This is certainly the wildcard on the list, standing at 6ft3, Odoffin is a centre half turned central midfielder. Hakeem has been a shining light in what has been a very dismal season for Hamilton Academical who currently sit at the bottom of the Scottish Premier League.
Hakeem has made 106 interceptions in 32 games, which is 29 more than the next highest and made 62 out of 91 attempted tackles, which puts him 8th on the list for most tackles made. He has also blocked the most shots (32) and also sits 7th on the list for most clearances (147). He has an aerial success rate of 69% winning 151 out of 218 duals.
He has scored 3 goals (2 headed and 1 right foot) all as a result of set pieces. Odoffin has operated 12 times as a centre back, 17 times as a central midfielder, twice as a right-back and once as a holding midfielder. He is most similar to Trevoh Chalobah and Town have certainly missed a tall athletic defensive-minded midfielder. According to whoscored his best position is central midfield, with Hakeem averaging a 7.33 match rating, compared with a rating of 7.16 in defence. The difference is negligible between both, but if you compare this to Town's highest-rated player on the same site: Josh Koroma who averages 7.05, it should put into perspective his top performances. Odoffin currently resides in Whoscored's highest performing SPFL team of the season, which is unsurprisingly dominated by Rangers and Celtic players.
By the summer Odoffin will be 23 and will only have 1 year left on his contract north of the border and should Hamilton go down then I think a deal for a reduced amount could be done. I know fans will most likely turn their noses up at a signing like this and maybe the Championship is a bit above his level currently, but I think this would certainly be a low-risk signing.

Ryan Porteous - Centre Back

Staying in Scotland, Ryan Porteous who is 22 this month certainly is someone who I think will go on to have a great career. The Scot was subject to a £1 million bid from Milwall in January, but the deal ultimately fell through.
Standing at 6ft2 he can be utilised on either side at centre back. He averages a passing accuracy of 77% and averages over 50 passes per game, which is not too dissimilar numbers to Naby Sarr.
I think the quality of Scottish football is just below Championship standard, but Hibernian have produced a number of good players over the years, John McGinn, Anthony Stokes and Jason Cummings to name a few. Hibs sit third in the league and Porteous has been pivotal in their push for the 'best of the rest' award.
Celtic are in dire need of a centre back to get out of the mess they are in, so Town could face competition from them if they are both interested. I think Celtic are a club in crisis currently and if Town can show Porteous a pathway into English football, like what Nottingham Forest did with Ryan's compatriot Scott McKenna, then they are in with a chance in signing him.
I think he could be a pricey deal, but Town are going to lose Christopher Schindler this summer and Town need to replace him so to spend £2.5 million on his replacement is absolutely necessary, whether it is Ryan or someone else.

Lewis Montsma - Centre Back

Lincoln's rise through the divisions continues and Lewis Montsma is playing an integral part in their Championship promotion push this season. He joined Lincoln from FC Dordrecht in summer 2020 and has taken the step up from the Dutch second division to League One well. Montsma can play as a centre back and a right back and is very good on the ball. He averages 47 passes per game, with an accuracy of 77%. Standing at 6ft3, Monstma is also very decent in the air, winning 96/160 aerial duals this season. His tackle success rate is 75% and completes 1.3 tackle per game, which puts him ahead of Naby Sarr, whose success rate is 65% and only completes 0.8 tackles per game. At the age of 22, I think he is someone who could become a staple in the Town side for seasons to come.
I think Montsma being good in possession would mean he fits in well with Town's playing out from the back philosophy. I think the only catch with trying to sign him may be because Town have taken 'The Cowleys' and Harry Toffolo in the past two seasons, Lincoln might put a huge price tag on him.