Submitted by Andrew McMellon (@andrew_mc84)
Host of My Best Eleven Podcast, Journalist and Pundit (https://mybesteleven.podbean.com/)
With rumours circling that Elijah Adebayo may be on his way to another club in the top half of the Championship including Middlesbrough, Sheff Utd and Fulham (and Newcastle have even been mentioned by the Newcastle Chronicle), it is apt that after not even 12 months on from is signing, that we look at how essential is he to Luton Town, especially considering his contract will almost certainly be longer than June 2022, as widely reported (most predict Luton have an option to extend the contract).
Having signed for (rumoured) to be £500,000 in January from Walsall, the ex Fulham youth player, has scored 10 goals in 20 games this season and been involved in 35% of all Luton’s goals in some manner. This is an improvement from 5 goals in 18 games in 2020/21 season. It is clear there has been a huge shift in his output and conversion rate since having a full pre season with Nathan Jones and potentially, more importantly, working with Mick Harford.
The concern for the Hatters is that their next best attacker in the squad is Harry Cornick. He is a man who does not play in the same position but has chipped in goals earlier in the season from the right side of a three but his goal output has slowed since his run of games has been interrupted. He has managed 7 goals in 18 games, but concerningly, only 1 since the middle of October.
The only 2 out and out strikers at the club, who can play in a similar solo front man, is Danny Hylton (who has not played consistently due to injuries and form in 3 seasons), and Cameron Jerome (who has struggled for form since joining the Town in July 2021).
The main question is, what is he worth to Luton and can they risk losing him half way through the season when Championship safety is not guaranteed? The noises coming from the press quote figures of around £10-15 million, but most at Walsall believe there is a 10% sell on clause due. This means the Hatters would look at the upper end of that figure, especially if they needed to reinvest the money. It is very, very hard to find goal scorers, and even harder for a club who can not pay the wages others in the Championship can. Due to this, they would need to search lower down again or find a loan signing till the end of the season when Harford can work his scouting magic in the summer.
If you dig deeper into League One/Two, there are very few young strikers who have as good a striking record and assist record as when Adebayo was signed 12 months ago. Players such as Aaron Drinan (Leyton Orient) and Will Keane (Wigan) being the ones which spring to mind but are potentially the wrong side of 21 to be a like for like replacement. The majority of the goals in these leagues are coming from seasoned pro’s or wingers come forwards such as Noombe (Exeter) and even Twine (MK Dons).