EFL League One: Five of the best bargains so far
James Norwood celebrates promotion with Tranmere Rovers via Getty Images

EFL League One: Five of the best bargains so far

We're in the thick of the transfer window and plenty of wheeling and dealing has been done in the third tier, but which signings have stood out above the rest?

joe_citrone
Joe Citrone

It’s that time of the year when managers are never off their phones and fans are never off social media in case a new signing is announced. The transfer rumour mill really is in full motion.

Plenty of deals have already been completed, though. Here are five of the best bargains pulled off by League One clubs so far this summer:

5. Alex Rodriguez Gorrin (Motherwell to Oxford United, free)

Karl Robinson was keen to fill the hole left by the departure of midfield maestro Ahmed Kashi after he went back to Troyes following the expiration of his loan deal with the club. He acted quickly by securing the signature of the tough-tackling Alex Rodriguez Gorrin on a free transfer from Motherwell.

Considering Gorrin achieved the most interceptions in Europe last season and was available on a free transfer, it was a no-brainer for Robinson to make him Oxford United’s first summer signing in June. His strengths lie in breaking the play up and acting as a shield in front of the back-four, but he also has an excellent range of passing and is likely to be a very strong addition to the U’s squad.

“He is a real competitor and a terrific athlete,” Robinson told the official club website. “He loves a challenge, is a good tackler and we think will be a very good player for us.”

4. Jordan Willis (Coventry City to Sunderland, free)

Jordan Willis has been a stalwart within the Coventry City defence over the past few years, through good times and bad, but decided to move onto pastures new this summer. Sunderland is the destination and, on paper at least, it looks like a good signing for the Black Cats as they look to launch another promotion bid.

Quick, athletic centre-backs aren’t always easy to come by in the lower leagues of English football, but Sunderland have been able to recruit one on a free transfer in Willis. Despite being relatively short for a central-defender, the 24-year old possess a tremendous leap and is strong in the air so is very much a well-rounded player. To get him on a free looks like a steal for the side in red and white.

Sunderland boss Jack Ross told the official club website: “He is going to get better, so I’m delighted that he has agreed to come here and I’m excited about what he will bring to the club, as he has attributes we wanted to add to the squad.”

3. Dan Butler (Newport County to Peterborough United, free)

Dan Butler was an integral part of the Newport County side that came agonisingly close to securing promotion to League One last season; the Exiles were defeated by a solitary goal in the League Two playoff final in May.

With Peterborough United desperate to get themselves back into the Championship after a near seven-year absence, they identified Butler as a player that could help make that happen and managed to pick him up on a free transfer as well.

The 24-year old is a hard-working, quick left-back that loves to bomb forward from defence and get crosses into the box. He is most often found flying up and down the left flank due to his engine and athleticism.

Posh have become renowned for being able to sell players for big money under chairman Darragh McAnthony and, with Butler still being very young and having a lot of potential to get even better, there is a possibility that Darren Ferguson’s side may be able to make a significant profit from this player in the future if he lives up to expectations.

Ferguson told the official club website: “It is a really big signing for us because the left-back area has been a problem position for us and we have now got two to compete in that area of the pitch.”

2. Josh Morris (Scunthorpe United to Fleetwood Town, free)

Many clubs were desperate for Josh Morris’ signature after he left recently-relegated Scunthorpe United at the end of the 2018/19 season and a few eyebrows were raised when it was announced that he was joining up with Joey Barton’s Fleetwood Town.

It’s regarded as a bit of a coup for the club with many other clubs interested in taking Morris following his departure from the Iron. The 27-year old is a left-sided winger who loves running at full-backs and possess an eye for goal too. He scored 19 goals in the 2016/17 season under current Salford City boss Graham Alexander and will be looking to recapture that form back at Fleetwood, where he had a brief stint in 2014.

"I was really impressed with the manager and the way he sold the club," Morris told the official club website. "I know the chairman and his passion so after weighing everything up, it was the right decision."

1. James Norwood (Tranmere Rovers to Ipswich Town, free)

James Norwood has not been able to stop scoring over the past two seasons, notching a total of 49 league goals between 2017 and 2019 for a Tranmere Rovers side that have secured back-to-back promotions in that period.

The 28-year old is one of the hardest-working players you’re likely to come across and makes sure to be an absolute menace to any defender that comes up against him. His goalscoring record speaks for itself and Ipswich Town, new to the third tier after relegation from the Championship last term, will be confident Norwood’s the player to solve the goalscoring woes that helped see them into the third-tier.

Given his remarkable goalscoring record over the past two seasons, this is surely a player that would have gone for a sizeable transfer fee had he still had time to run on his contract at Tranmere. Ipswich have done remarkably well to secure his services for nothing and he will be a big player next season as they aim to get back into the second tier.

“Ipswich is a Premier League club and I want to help them get back to that level,” Norwood told the official club website. “I had three or four Championship clubs make offers but I spoke with Paul Lambert and he told me how he saw me fit into his team.”

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