The summer transfer window has been a good if unspectacular one for the Wanderers this summer. Ian Evatt publicly stated before a single name was touted that he wanted to keep the bulk of his promoted squad together and ride the wave of momentum. Despite this we still brought in some really good additions: Josh Sheehan, George Johnston and Xavier Amaechi all stood out as fantastic signings. Further additions were made in an effort to add depth such as Will Aimson, Joel Dixon and Amadou Bakayoko (although it looks like Baka is going to be the best of the lot). Two names not mentioned thus far that arguably generated the most excitement amongst fans were the loan stars of the previous season, Oladapo ‘Dapo’ Afolayan and Declan John. These two were arguably two of the best players we had last year and also allowed Evatt to stick to his manta of keeping the promotion gang together (an important point of context for the rest of this).
So as we stand at the minute, including the recent addition of Elias Kachunga, we have improved every position on the park this window with the exception of one, right back. This is relatively understandable given that we have two good options in this area, Gethin Jones and Harry Brockbank. Both did well last season and would feel hard done by to get the boot this season. They are relatively similar players with similar strengths and a similar consistency to their performances (both a bit of a ‘Mr. 6/10’ which is a very good thing to be). One of the similarities that they probably wouldn’t want to share however is that neither was our best right back last year. Peter Kioso was.
Kioso arrived in October after it had become abundantly that the squad wasn’t good enough. We passed it around the defence ad nauseam and found it impossible to transition to attack. Kisoso replaced Jones and made an immediate impact. We suddenly had a wing back who was willing to run with the ball and support the attack. He also offered a great outlet if the goalkeeper wanted to play a longer ball from the back as he was seldom beaten in the air. He had a fantastic jump and aerial ability, all around good physicality, liked a shot, was decent on the ball and won us a decent amount of free kicks. He was recalled in January only to be sent on loan elsewhere but had left us with 3 goals, an assist (needs to improve his crossing) and a Whoscored rating of 7.04 (very impressive considering how the rest were doing during his spell) in 13 games.
I can only dream of how great it would have been to have seen Declan John on one side and Kioso on the the other (drooling sounds) but perhaps it doesn’t have to be a dream. We have some space being made in the squad* and he doesn’t appear to be first choice having not started the first league game for Luton (he did get an assist in their the cup game). Would he want to come back? You tell me after reading this interview with Kioso for Luton Today:
“It was a good chance to get some games, the best thing about it is Ian Evatt the manager trusted me...
As soon as he brought me in he played me every time, so it’s a big credit to him for believing in me...
For the fans, I have loads of love towards them as they accepted me from the beginning. They showed me lots of love and treated me like I was one of their own. It’s the best thing when you go in there and the manager backs you, the players back you and the fans back you, so you can just relax and concentrate on your football...
I did what I could have done before I left, so credit to the staff, to the players, to the club itself as I’ve been there first hand to see the hard work they put in, it’s what they deserve in my opinion...
As soon as they went up, I was watching the game, I gave a ‘well done’ to a couple of the players, to the manager of course and it’s nothing less than what they deserved.”
If you didn’t love him before, you probably do now.
So should we get him back? For me it’s a no brainer. I said at the end of last summer that of all the loan-ees I wanted him back the most. I’d go as far as to say he’d be worth paying a fee for if we have the means.
He offers something different to the current options. He and a much improved Jones would make a formidable set of options and would probably suit the type of games where the other would struggle. It will help offer the team a bit more balance by being able to play a similar type of player to the one at left back. I’m pretty sure there’s a decent right-winger in there as well if he was needed in a pinch.
We look good so far but as Evatt likes to say, we could be better. How? Look no further than this man. He’s a talent we can’t afford to miss out on.
* On the subject of moving players out to make some space: We could debate if loaning out Politic is a good idea until the cows came home. It’s also good to hear Darcy will be getting a move and some game time. The main point I wanted to make is THEY HAVE TO BE SIGNING NEW DEALS BEFORE THEY GO OUT (if Evatt sees a long term future for them). To send any young player out in the last year of their contract when they are expected to have great potential is sheer idiocy. Oversights like that led the club to the brink once. Never again. If they impress on their loans they can walk for next to nothing in January. Please, please, please be sensible.