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Chairman eyes transfer targets after winning Town court case
MONEY is available and a centre-half and striker have been put at the top of Lee Power’s wanted list after the Swindon Town chief set out his vision for the club yesterday.
After finally seeing off the final of Jed McCrory’s claws for control in the High Court, Power, alongside club director Sangita Shah, was able to announce his hopes for the summer and season ahead.
In a wide-reaching interview he touched upon the club’s future, his aims, the money available for players, his plans with manager Mark Cooper, Nile Ranger’s departure and Massimo Luongo’s future.
On new players, he said: “Everyone’s aware that the spine of the team’s important. We’ve got the best goalkeeper in the league, we’re very light in the centre-half department and that’s what we’ve been working on.
“We’ve got one of the strongest midfields in the league and then up top we might need to look at re-juggling that because people get stale and they go in and out of form, but we’re pleased Willo’s (Williams) back.
“We’ve got people up there that we feel can cause people problems, but if the right one comes along, with losing Ranger, who knows.
“It needs to be for the right price and it needs to be the right person, and we’ve all learnt - the right character.
“It’s a team game. If we were fortunate to find someone of Ranger’s talent for the money, but obviously it come with issues, we probably wouldn’t go down that route.”
The former Newcastle United forward is one of those to have come off the wage bill since the last game of the season, with Dany N’Guessan, Jay McEveley and Alan Navarro other notable cuts.
Power is keen to avoid jeopardising the club’s future and has poured cold water on any suggestion he might overstretch his resources in the hope of a quickfire promotion.
“We can bring them in,” he said. “There’s obviously one or two we’ve still got that are on too much money for Swindon Town, but unfortunately they’re contracted so if they stay, for whatever reason, then obviously they’ll be paid like they were last year.
“If one or two of those were to move on it shores up other funds, but I think the road that we’re going down, if we haven’t got the money I won’t be spending it because I just believe that’s the only way to run a business.
“The supporters might not be pleased with that. We will use the loan market.
“We will loan players from Premier League teams, but they will be a variety of teams and I will do everything I can to get the best players to Swindon on a fraction of the price.”
The stand-out loan signing from last year, Alex Pritchard, remains a player the majority of fans hold close to their hearts, who would love to see him return to the County Ground next season.
Power said he was interested in that prospect, but felt it was highly unlikely, given the interest from higher up the football pyramid.
“If we could, but I think that’s the very unlikely to happen. One thing Pritch will say is he was fantastic for us, but we were fantastic for him,” said Power.
“He’s gone from obscurity at Spurs to playing in their last game of the season. That’s how we can benefit young players coming to us from Premier League teams.
“The benefit we get is having a player like that for a season and someone that we can afford. That’s the model we will be trying to use along with some great players of our own. We are looking at one or two other gems.
“People would like to say it was a young team last year that never really played a full season. They have now so we’re looking for them to improve and move forward and we expect to be competing next season.”
One man who far from managed to play a full season for the Robins in 2013/14, was controversial forward Nile Ranger, who agreed to terminate his contract earlier this year.
He was a man who regularly impressed on the pitch, according to Power, but one who took too much nurturing and attention.
“It’s a difficult one to sum up. He’s a fantastic player. He’s someone that I’ve had Championshp chairmen ring me up and ask about because they know his ability, but he has different issues as a lad,” he said.
“We started off by calling him a loveable rogue, but Mark has to spend his time on a group of players, not just one. And unfortunately he just used up too much of our time. That’s the nicest way to put it.”
Power also confirmed the club was waiting to hear back from Troy Archibald-Henville’s representatives on the pay-as-you-play deal offered to him, but it looked likely he would depart.