Elijah Adebayo, What to Expect

Signing players in January from lower league teams who have 6-months left on their contract for cut-price deals is nothing new to Town. Karlan Grant, Harry Toffolo and in this window already Duane Holmes, Rolando Aarons, Sorba Thomas and Richard Keogh, but now it seems that Town is after Elijah Adebayo. The 6 foot 3 English striker is a product of the Fulham youth academy, but after a number of loans away from the club, he was released and Walsall picked him up. Walsall has had a few decent players come through their ranks in recent times, Troy Deeney, Scott Dann, Jamie Paterson and Rico Henry to name a few, so the fact that the West Midlands club currently plays in League 2, should not be a reason to turn your nose up at the signing.

What is being reported so far?

Journalist Pete O'Rourke has reported that Town has tabled a £250,000 bid for the 23-year-old (he also broke the Carel Eting deal). It would appear that Town are looking to bolster their attacking options in the last few days of the window before it shuts on the 1st February. Town does remain in competition from Scottish Championship side Hearts who are also said to be interested in his services.

This Season

So far this season, Adebayo has scored 10 goals and 1 assist in 25 League 2 appearances, with him being involved in 34% of Walsall's goals. 6 of goals have come from his right foot, 2 from his left and 2 headed goals. Elijah currently sits joint 6th in the League 2 top scorer charts. He averages 3.5 aerials won per game, although he only wins 37% of aerials. When you compare this with Fraizer Campbell, Campbell only wins 1.2 aerials per game with a success rate of 31%. Although you should remember that Adebayo is playing in a less competitive league.

Where could he fit in at Town?

Since the departure of Steve Mounie, Town has not had a striker above 6 foot tall at their disposal. Adebayo is the same height as Mounie and would allow Town to have a plan B striker or play the 442 which Town used against Millwall. While technically he may not be as a good a player as Fraizer Campbell or Danny Ward, he may improve the players around him. For example, Isaac Mbenza has an exceptional cross on him and that is something that Town have not maximised enough this season, so the addition of Adebayo would benefit Mbenza. Having a tall option upfront also gives Ryan Schofield a target when kicking and one which may give him greater confidence when kicking up the field from goal kicks to reduce the pressure on him playing out from the back each time.
I am not expecting him to come in and be a regular starter, but someone who will feature off the bench and be given a start from time to time.

Why him and now?

"I thought people say: There is no value in January?" Well, partly that is true, if you want to sign a player who is playing well and under contract for next season, then there is going to be a premium price to pay, but in Adebayo case, this is not true. Elijah is out of contract in the summer and because he is under 24 the transfer would go to a tribunal anyway, so to avoid extra competition for his signature and the transfer going to a tribunal, it is in Town's best interests to complete it now. For a fee of £250,000 and he has just turned 23, there is not much that can go wrong with the signing, and if he can start performing well, then you are looking at a potential expensive sale.
In my opinion, this is a very exciting signing and one which could potentially be a game-changer in the future. I don't think he will make a huge immediate impact and he will probably take time to adapt to Championship football, but he along with Holmes has 6 months to adapt to Town's style of play before he can be properly judged next season.

Be sure to keep up to date with all the other incoming and outgoing deals at Town on the Transfer Page.