Joseph Pope


Joseph Pope – @OffTheLineBlog

Joseph looks at what United squad places are still to be filled, and who could fill them

Phew! We all need a lie down after Manic Monday, with seven new signings through the door, Gary Johnson has got his summer business underway with a bang.

You would expect that the squad is virtually complete, but there are still a couple of positions in which the squad perhaps need a bit of strengthening, and as such I bring you another transfer targets article, looking at what we still need and who I think could fill these areas.

Position 1: Right Back
Target: Tivonge Rushesha (Swansea City)

It is likely, in fact almost certain, that Ben Wynter is to be our number one right back once again this year, but with our deputy Matt Buse departing the club in the summer and Wynter’s own personal injury record of late underlining our need for some cover in this area, I think that the addition of a young player on-loan to learn from and push Wynter would be valuable, and that should be Rushesha of Swansea City.

The youngster is a right back by trade, but he can also play on the right hand-side of midfield and utilise his electric pace to get forward, as well as at the base of midfield. As such, I think that Rushesha answers a lot of our needs. He can be Wynter’s back-up, but also be an option on the right in wake of Nemane’s departure and then also provide an option if Hall or new signing Lapslie are unavailable. He brings real athleticism and powerful running, and given that he ticks the Johnson box of versatility, this is one that we should be pursuing.


Position: Right Back

Date of Birth: 24th July 2002 – 18 years-old

Height: 1.62m

Current Club: Swansea City

Former Clubs: None

League Stats 20-21: N/A

Position 2: Centre Back
Target: Scott Wootton

There is a chance that Sam Sherring returns to the club after his loan last season, although I don’t see Scott Parker letting him leave the club this summer, at least not for the National League. As such, it is important that we have a look at another option who we could perhaps try and sign. Personally, although we did well last season with two youngsters in Sherring and Lewis at the back, I think that we need an experienced defender – someone that is going to provide that vocal presence at the back, and one player who I think could fill that void is Scott Wootton.

We have had a notable signing of sorts with an experienced EFL player in Lapslie, but Wootton would be our proper marquee addition to the squad, especially given that he was still playing regularly last year in League One. He was released by Plymouth Argyle at the end of the season and is therefore on the look out for a new club, and I think that he would be a really useful addition.

He is strong in the air, a good organiser and can be a threat from set-pieces, and would be the perfect person for Lewis to learn from. Whoever Johnson does go for, I think it needs to be an experienced head in my opinion, and so it will be interesting to see who arrives.


Position: Centre Back

Date of Birth: 12th September 1991 – 29 years-old

Height: 1.88m

Former Clubs: Liverpool, Man Utd, Tranmere, Peterborough, Notts Forest, Leeds, Rotherham, MK Dons, Plymouth, Wigan

League Stats 20-21: Played 23, Goals 1, Bookings 4

Position 3: Winger
Target: Oliver Cooper

I still think that Gary Johnson will bring in James Dayton as one of our wingers, but in the event that he doesn’t, someone that I would like us to have a look at is Ollie Cooper. I remember when we played Swansea City Under-21’s a season or so ago, and this lad really impressed. He played with a real energy and drive from the left, but is right-footed and as such would be easily adept on the right.

He used his pace to stretch us, and when he got in behind he had the presence of mind to cut the ball back and provide a good delivery for his team mates. Although he would be a loan signing and a youth player at that, I think Cooper would still represent a real coup as he is start to break into the Swans squad on the fringes in the cup games, and so perhaps this may be a level too low for his qualities. But if there is a chance he can come to Plainmoor it would be well worth exploring.

He hogs the touchline as a somewhat old-fashioned winger, giving himself the space to get on the ball and then drive at his opponents, and is someone that I always thought we should have tried to bring in ever since we saw him impress at Plainmoor that afternoon. We have seen so many players excel on loan with us, and a good spell at Plainmoor could propel him into the Swansea manager’s thoughts.


Position: Winger

Date of Birth: 14th December 1999 – 21 years-old

Height: 1.76m

Current Club: Swansea City

Former Clubs: None

League Stats 20-21: Played 3, Goals 0, Bookings 0

Position 4: Striker
Target: Mark Beck

The final player on this list is a forward, and I have chosen Mark Beck. Aaron Martin and Jack Muldoon are the key strikers for Town, with Danilo Orsi and Luke Armstrong also in the reckoning following their summer moves to Wetherby Road, and that probably leaves Beck as fifth choice striker. As such, I think that this is a loan signing that could potentially come to fruition and one that I think should be pursued if there is a chance that Weaver is open to letting him go.

He is an experienced forward, an intelligent operator with a real cool and composed persona in the final third, and I think that Mark would actually complement Danny Wright really well in a front two and could also deputise for Wright if the forward is unavailable. Beck knows the level well, and is still only 27 years of age – I must admit I thought he was older than that – and so in some respects represents a younger option to Wright. I think that Beck would be a really good signing and would give Johnson another good outlet in the final third.

Unless Wright buys some new hamstrings in the summer, there is a likelihood that he will only feature 20-30 times from the start this year, and so Beck would be a smart addition. Beck could also bring on Lolos well, and so this is who Johnson should pin his hopes on to provide competition in the forward areas.


Position: Striker

Date of Birth: 2nd February 1994 – 27 years-old

Height: 1.96m

Current Club: Harrogate Town

Former Clubs: Carlisle, Falkirk, Yeovil, Wrexham, Darlington

League Stats 20-21: Played 26, Goals 4, Bookings 0

COYY – Joseph







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