Column: Transfer deadline day predictions after a quiet night for Ariyibi
Tuesday was a very quiet night for Gboly Ariyibi, ahead of what might be a hectic day for the winger and his club.
The winger played just 45 minutes against Wolves Under 23s in the EFL Trophy and was apparently watched by the chairman of one of his many admirers.
But the Barnsley chief didn’t get to see Ariyibi in full flow.
It was a subdued display from the man being linked with every Tom, Dick and Harry in the Championship, for whom there may well be a flurry of bids today, on transfer deadline day.
Instead, Jon Nolan ran the show for most of the evening for Chesterfield, who ran out winners – just – against Wolves’ second string.
Nolan continues to look right at home in the Spireites midfield and it was from two of his deliveries that the hosts’ goals were scored.
But it’s unlikely the recently-signed-from-non-league player will get too comfortable, with a first half tirade from Danny Wilson likely still ringing in his ears.
That was one of the few occasions the Chesterfield boss rose from his seat.
Another was to make a very strong case to fourth official Lisa Rashid in the wake of Wolves’ late penalty, a spot-kick that would have handed the visitors a point and brought on a bizarre ‘second point shootout.’
The game might have been meaningless to the thousands who stayed away, but from the look on Wilson’s face as he chided Ms Rashid, the manager cared very much.
Players and coaches will of course set out to win whatever mach is put in front of them, but it will still surely have been a strange experience to run out at the Proact for a competitive game in front of a crowd numbering fewer than 1,000.
For the 950 who did attend there were a few surprises in the Chesterfield starting line-up.
Veteran Ian Evatt was a cert to be rested according to most who expressed a pre-match opinion, yet he captained the side.
Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, so obviously out of favour and essentially, publicly, told to buck up his ideas by his boss, also started.
Perhaps the Spireites were using the game as a shop window for the 30-year-old striker with today’s transfer deadline in mind.
Or maybe Wilson wanted to hand the ex Wolves man a chance to start redeeming himself, with a view to making good use of the frontman should no bids materialise.
Of course he might have been covering his bases by sticking SEB in for a first start of the season.
Ariyibi’s presence in the starting line-up also prompted intrigue.
Did it mean the club were showing off their prize asset to potential bidders in the crowd, like the Tykes chairman Maurice Watkins?
Or was it a signal that the Spireites are fully intent on keeping the winger and thusly not afraid to throw him into action while the transfer market is still active?
Either way it’s hard to know what interested parties will have made of the 45 minute showing from Ariyibi.
And it’s even harder to second guess Danny Wilson.
He might have been tempted to rest Nolan, but he played him and got a Man of the Match performance in return.
It’s no exaggeration to say that a consistent run in the team might just make Nolan the next Spireite to send the rumour mill into overdrive on a transfer deadline day.
Not tomorrow and probably not even in January, but should he continue to improve like players seem to under Wilson, Nolan will catch the eye of other clubs and make it even more baffling that he was so recently a non-league player.
The curse of a print journalist on transfer deadline day is a deadline, and this column is being written before the window ‘slams’ shut.
So by the time it reaches Chesterfield doormats and newsagent counter tops, Ariyibi could be a Barnsley/Brentford/Leeds/Derby or Reading player.
Ebanks-Blake could find himself a new home with a League Two outfit and a couple of new faces might be unveiled by the media team at the Proact.
But it falls to me to make predictions, albeit acknowledging that anything can happen in football and imploring readers to be forgiving should the exact opposite transpire.
Chesterfield’s stubborn refusal to drop their asking price for Ariyibi has sown a seed of doubt in my mind that they’ll sell him before January.
However the sheer amount of interest makes me think it likely that someone will stump up a tempting offer, upwards of £500k but less than £1million, and Ariyibi will depart.
A sell on clause, promotion clause and appearance related add ons will sweeten the deal and a youngster will arrive on loan from a bigger club on a season long loan.
Ebanks-Blake will remain a Spireite and with his appetite whetted by the midweek goal, he’ll regain a squad place but fail to shift Ched Evans from the number nine role.
Before you hit the bookies though, a disclaimer – I wouldn’t put money on it.