With 21 of the 24 teams confirmed for the new League One season, we are edging closer to the day that each club is truly focusing on their plans for the new year, and which areas of their squad they are in desperate need of reinforcing.
One of the most highly anticipated free agents to come out of the third tier this summer is ex-Doncaster winger Kieran Sadlier. The 25-year-old English-born Irish winger recently agreed to depart the Yorkshire side at the end of the previous season after spending 18 months with the League One outfit, joining from Cork City in December of 2018. Today, I take a look at five teams who could really use a player of Sadlier’s calibre for the new season.
Pompey suffered the same fate this season as they did in their previous campaign, falling in the play-off semi-finals. In the summer of 2019, they let Matt Clarke leave to join Brighton after failing to win promotion, and this year could see them losing another star player.
Ronan Curtis has been heavily linked with Blackburn Rovers for the past few months, and in the past week he has been touted as the possible replacement for Said Benrahma at Brentford if they are unable to keep hold of their star man. It is looking very likely that Ronan Curtis will not be lining up for Portsmouth when the new season begins, so if that transfer was to go through, then Pompey will be in dire need of a new winger to lead them into another successful League One season.
Kieran Sadlier and Ronan Curtis were very evenly matched last season, with the Pompey man notching 12 goals with 5 assists, whilst the Doncaster winger picked up 11 goals with 6 assists in the league. On a free transfer, this could be a bargain signing for someone like Portsmouth, who can then use the money they receive for Curtis in other areas of the squad, like replacing Christian Burgess at centre back.
I’ve put Ipswich on here mainly for the fact that I support them, and I know how this one signing could put so many people back in Paul Lambert’s already broken (all by himself) corner. Despite the embarrassment of last season, Ipswich are still one of the ‘wealthiest’ clubs in League One for the new season, and can probably offer one of the largest contracts to Sadlier if he wants to stay in the league.
Ipswich have been crying out for a winger that they can call their own, since the immaculate loan spells of Ryan Fraser and Tom Lawrence. PR Paul has been adamant about his love of the 4-3-3 formation, but believes he can play central players out wide instead of buying actually wide men for the team. With the release of Danny Rowe, Ipswich have one registered winger in the form of Gwion Edwards, who spent the majority of last season at Right Wing Back.
The long-awaited return to fitness of Jack Lankester means Ipswich have the pieces for a wide formation, but being able to pull of the coup of a Kieran Sadlier would turned Ipswich’s one-dimensional attack into one of the more dangerous set ups in the league. I know I’m coming at it as a fan, but Ipswich are crying out for a goalscoring midfielder. Sadlier hit double digits last season, Ipswich haven’t seen that kind of return from a midfielder since David Norris scored 11 in the 2010/11 season. Sign this man Lambert, he will solve your wide problems.
The odds-on favourite for the signing of Kieran Sadlier, managed by ex-Doncaster manager Grant McCann, Hull City have been desperate to fill the voids left by Jarrod Bowen and Kamil Grosicki. Malik Wilks has signed permanently, and is a very capable League One winger, but with Sadlier on the other side, Hull have someone who can perform in both League One and the Championship. Apparently Sadlier is keen on a move to the east coast side, as it is not too far from Doncaster and it would mean he meets up with his old boss. The Tigers are in a precarious situation at the moment, sitting in 22ndplace in the Championship and looking like a side who need a season in League One.
A signing like Kieran Sadlier could be the marquee incoming to drive them on next season in the third tier, but he can also be someone to try and emulate the success of Jared Bowen if they can keep their noses in the Championship. Hull will be following the free agent market with intent all summer, and with their finances unable to sustain any more high-profile signings, Sadlier could be the person who fits the bill for them. Whichever league Hull City find themselves in, Kieran Sadlier should be at the top of their wish list going into the new campaign.
The newly promoted Championship side will be looking for players who know where the back of the net is for the new season, as they will have to add some quality to all areas of the park bar the front two. Freddie Ladapo and Michael Smith scored 29 goals between them this season, and I think they will both score goals in the Championship.
Paul Warne’s use of the 4-4-2 for the majority of 2020 has helped the two strikers form a deadly partnership, but they have struggled to use their wingers to their potential. Someone like Kieran Sadlier could be the perfect signing to not only supply Ladapo and Smith, but also chip in for some much-needed goals as well.
Rotherham are the only confirmed Championship side from this first 4 teams, so would be a jump for Sadlier and it would be interesting if he feels he is ready for something like that. Staying in Yorkshire could be the pull that Sadlier wants for a new team, and if Hull were to get relegated, then it could put Rotherham at the top of the pile for a Yorkshire based side. Don’t be surprised if this gets some legs when the Championship season begins to wind down.
For me, QPR could be side to take a punt on a player like Sadlier, and I think this could be the ceiling for him in terms of this window. Someone like Scott Fraser who I spoke about in the last of these could play for a mid-table to top half Championship side, but he could easily slot himself into an Aberdeen or a Kilmarnock up in Scotland. Sadlier however, needs to be at a team where he is not going to be looked at like the saving grace of the squad.
With the form of Eberechi Eze this season, it is quite likely that he could be moving on to pastures new when the next season rolls around, so don’t be surprised if QPR are on the lookout for someone who can play on the wing and behind the striker like Eze could. Alongside players like Ilias Chair and Bright Osayi-Samuel, Sadlier could thrive under Mark Warburton with some talented youngsters around him. I can’t see QPR being in for Sadlier at this very moment, but if the London side don’t want to throw all their money away if they are to sell Eze, then don’t be surprised if they take a punt of Sadlier as a free agent and looked to spend their money on other areas.
Sadlier is such a good free agent for a load of teams right now, people like Coventry, Barnsley, Luton, Charlton, Huddersfield to name a few could come in for the lad, but if he believes that he can be a quality Championship player, then QPR could be the right club for him to develop and better his skills.
What do you guys think? Is Kieran Sadlier ready for the Championship, or will another season in League One do him good. In my opinion, I think that Rotherham may be the best team for him. With Championship football sealed, and expectations not be enormous for the Yorkshire side, a season with them in the Championship could be perfect for Sadlier to make a bigger jump in the future. Let me know in the comments below and make sure to follow All Out Football on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.