So here we are, the third and final coming of my under-rated Football League signings so far in this window. I would happily continue this series down into the National League and below if that is what people want. But, for now, here are the Top 5 under-valued signings by League 2 clubs.
1. John Welsh
34 now, the tough tackling centre midfielder enjoyed numerous excellent seasons at Preston North End, where he made over 150 appearances. He won promotion to the Championship with The Lilywhites and has been a reliable figure up north during their second-tier campaigns.
He recently joined Grimsby Town on a free transfer, where he will be looking to bring strength and stability to a Grimsby Town side that massively struggled last season. John is an excellent anchor, and efficiently joins defence and attack allowing a well-balanced team to be made around him. He will also be an influential figure in Michael Jolley’s dressing room.
2. David Vaughan
Yes, he’s 35 now, and his pace and injury record have always been a slight concern. However, to say a former Premier League midfielder is teaming up with Kevin Nolan to play in the fourth tier is a hugely exciting prospect. The Welshman has crossed The Trent from Nottingham Forest to Notts County on a free transfer, signing a one year deal. His outstanding technique and range of passing mean he will be able to unlock many League 2 defences, allowing County’s forward play to flourish.
Furthermore, his knowledge and experience is a key asset of his which he could use to tutor the young central midfielders Notts County possess, meaning the likes of Tom Crawford, Will Patching and Noor Husin are also likely to benefit from this transfer.
3. Toumani Diagouraga
The 31 year old Frenchman spent a long period of his career playing for Leeds United in the Championship. He has since been on loan to Ipswich in 2017 where he made 12 appearances. Toumani spent the beginning of the 2017/18 season at Plymouth where he played 15 times and scored 3 goals, he then moved up north to Fleetwood Town, a move closer to home, and made 17 appearances at the end of the campaign.
Now, having just signed for Swindon Town on a free transfer from Fleetwood, Toumani will be looking to settle down after a hectic few years and re-find his great form that allowed him to establish himself in the Leeds squad for such a long period of time. Diagouraga will fit in well in the fourth tier with his dominating strength and surprising burst of pace. I hope will be able to lay down a claim to be a starting member of Phil Brown’s team.
4. Luke Norris
Finally! He’s stopped talking about old central midfielders! The English striker has joined Colchester United from Swindon Town for an undisclosed fee, strangely having just signed a new contract at The Robins. That aside, last season Luke was in prolific form, netting 13 and assisting five in just 35 appearances in the league for Swindon. This meant he caught the eye of Colchester, who snapped him up on a three-year deal.
At 25, Norris still has time to improve and the great striking competition he faces at The U’s, including the likes of Frank Nouble, Mikael Mandron and Aaron Collins, are sure to bring the best out of him. If he can once again demonstrate his quality finishing and enjoy another fine season, then there shall be nothing stopping him, or Colchester moving up the English footballing pyramid.
5. Filipe Morais
It is rightly so that a Portuguese, Chelsea academy product has caused a stir when signing for a League Two club. He may be 32 but Filipe is off the back of a good season with Bolton Wanderers in the Championship, where he made a respectable 33 appearances. He joins Crawley from Bolton on a free transfer, signing a three-year deal.
He still possesses a fair bit of pace and flair which is sure to get The Red Devil’s fans off their seats. He will be expected to provide a new-look Crawley frontline with many chances in order to propel Harry Kewell’s men further up the table in the forthcoming season, ideally towards the playoffs.