Sweet: Hatters were never going to pay over the odds during transfer window

Luton CEO discusses January dealings in his programme notes

Monday, 10th February 2020, 11:27 am
Updated Tuesday, 11th February 2020, 5:52 pm
Hatters chief executive Gary Sweet

Luton chief executive Gary Sweet has stated the club were never going to pay ‘over the odds’ during the transfer window, despite their precarious position at the bottom of the Championship table.

With Hatters chief Graeme Jones speaking of his wish to bring in a number of new faces throughout the month to help Town with their predicament, ultimately he added three players, Spurs defender Cameron Cater-Vickers on loan, Leeds United midfielder Eunan O'Kane on an 18-month agreement and Hartlepool defender Peter Kioso for an undisclosed fee.

Only Carter-Vickers is expected to have an immediate impact, with O’Kane coming back from a long term injury and Kioso seen as one for the future, as writing in his programme notes for Town's clash with Cardiff on Saturday, Sweet said: “I must confess, the winter window isn’t one I particularly enjoy.

“It is renowned and is statistically proven to be a month to avoid the traps and pitfalls rather than recruit players to provide an instant impact – something which, of course, is far easier said than done.

“In January, all registered players are in-contract.

“In January, any player who is going to provide an impact on our current season will need to have been playing regularly in order to instantly ‘slot-in’ with a minimal period of integration.

“In January, if a player has been playing regularly for his club and is in-contract, it is going to take a higher than usual transfer fee to persuade his registered club to sell.

"Paying over-the-odds for players is not something we should or can do.”

However, Sweet did admit the club had been actively looking for new signings to bolster their squad, but just couldn’t get the targets they wanted, as he continued: “With the backdrop of player values already being inflated by clubs seemingly intent on breaching Profit and Sustainability rules, it was a market which didn’t present itself easily for us to attract impact players.

“It wasn’t for the want of trying I can assure you.

“Ninety percent of our time tended to be spent on activity that never saw the light of day – a typical symptom of Januarys.

"Nevertheless, we were pleased with the eventual business we did by attracting one who will improve the squad immediately and two others who will require some patience.

"Most importantly, we didn’t lose anyone we needed to keep.”

Speaking about the three players they did manage to acquire, Sweet added: "It is with delight that we welcome the return of Eunan O’Kane.

"Although he isn’t currently fit enough to go straight into the team, as he works back from the broken leg he suffered here 16 months ago, we saw enough in those glimpses to know he’ll be a huge asset over the next year and a half.

"He loved his time here and was supporting the lads as loud as anyone when we beat Oxford on the final day of last season to win the league – a character we always wanted to bring back to finish what we started together.

“We hope that Cameron Carter-Vickers will endear himself similarly during his loan from Tottenham, while Peter Kioso is exactly the type of lower league gem we love to unearth, thanks to our scouting network under Mick Harford’s stewardship.

“Whilst Peter has a great future ahead of him his impact on this season shouldn’t be dismissed as he has impressed the manager so far.”