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League One: Five signings to watch

League One returns this weekend and a few teams have made some eye-catching signings over the last few months in preparation for the new season.

This year’s edition of the third tier looks wide open with no clear heavyweights who should be almost automatically expected to dominate after Ipswich and Sheffield Wednesday won promotion last season, and that means there are plenty of teams who will fancy their chances of forcing their way into the Championship.

Loan deals make up a big chunk of the transfer business for League One teams over the summer months but for the purposes of this article we’ve focused on permanent transfers, and here are five signings which who could make a big impact.

WhatEngland League 1 2023/24
WhenSaturday 5th August 4, 2023 – Sunday 27th April, 2024
How to watchSky Sports
OddsDerby 9/2, Bolton 6/1, Barnsley 9/1, Portsmouth 9/1, Peterborough 10/1

Alfie May - Striker

Cheltenham Town to Charlton Athletic - undisclosed fee

Charlton have managed to pull off a few excellent deals this summer and the captures of Harry Ited and Lloyd Jones look promising, but the arrival of striker Alfie May is perhaps their most exciting deal.

May arrives for an undisclosed fee from Cheltenham Town after playing a key role in helping the Robins win promotion from League Two last season with 20 goals in 39 games.

The 30-year-old has already proven himself in the third tier after hitting 23 goals for Cheltenham in 2021/22, despite their relegation, and he may be the signing that helps Charlton push on and secure a play-off place, or better, after their mid-table finish last term.

Cole Stockton - Striker

Morecambe to Burton Albion - free transfer

Morecambe offered Cole Stockton a new deal in August 2022 that would have made him the club’s highest paid player but he opted not to sign it and departed as a free agent at the end of the season. 

The Shrimps' loss is Burton’s gain as they moved to bring in the 29-year-old, one of eight players who has arrived as a free agent for Albion over the summer.

Stockton is the kind of target man who will give the Brewers a focal point in attack, but he also has a knack for scoring as he has reached double figures in each of the last three seasons - hitting 11 goals for a Morecambe side who slipped through the relegation trapdoor last season.

Carlos Mendes Gomes - winger

Luton Town to Bolton Wanderers - undisclosed fee

Bolton’s main priority this summer was a new keeper and boss Ian Evatt signed two shot-stoppers in Joel Coleman and Nathan Baxter, but winger Carlos Mendes may prove to be the pick of new arrivals.

The Spaniard, who spent time in Atletico Madrid's academy as a youngster, starred for Morecambe in League Two before moving to Luton a few seasons ago, but he was unable to force his way into the Hatters side and last season he spent the campaign in League One on loan at Fleetwood.

Gomes, 24, impressed for the Cod Army and may be able to raise his game further in a stronger Bolton side. 

Ryan Graydon - winger

Derry City to Fleetwood - undisclosed fee

Fleetwood have made a few signings from Ireland’s Premier Division in recent seasons and the capture of 24-year-old winger Ryan Graydon from Derry City looks an interesting deal.

Graydon was at Bohemians as a youngster and made a handful of senior appearances before dropping down to the First Division with Bray Wanderers and then Longford. 

Graydon worked his way back up into the top tier by securing a move to Derry, where he played a starring role in their 2022 FAI Cup Final victory over Shelbourne.

Those performances caught the attention of Fleetwood, and after seeing their first bid knocked back, they managed to get their man in July in a reported £90,000 deal. 

Graydon arrives as a relative unknown but has plenty of potential and could well establish himself as one of Fleetwood’s star men in the season ahead.

Mark Harris - striker

Cardiff City to Oxford - free transfer

Oxford could be an outside bet for promotion after some impressive signings over the summer and the capture of striker Mark Harris from Cardiff on a free transfer looks to be a bit of a coup.

Harris was in talks over a new deal with the Welsh club but negotiations stalled and Oxford ended up winning the battle for his signature. 

The 24-year-old is a versatile forward who can play in a variety of attacking roles, although he isn’t necessarily a prolific scorer.

Harris is a full Wales international and was selected in their World Cup squad for Qatar, although he didn’t feature in the tournament, and his arrival at Oxford came as a bit of a surprise as he was widely expected to join another club in the Championship.

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