Walsall are in desperate need of a striker. There has been nothing in the way of rumours, of players linked with the club, which is not a surprise given that there were no rumours swirling before many of the 12 players that have been signed so far. This week, there has been a prime candidate step into the frame who would more than fit the bill, but is the player attainable?
Who is the player?
Cameron Archer scored a hat-trick this week against Barrow in the Carabao Cup. His goals, and all round play have caused a sensation with fans from many different clubs, and has also put him on the map for a few teams who are looking for a striker. Archer is from Walsall, and attended Walsall Academy. He has been with Villa since he was 8 years old.
Archer spent last season on loan to Solihull Moors, and it is clear that Villa think highly enough of him. Dean Smith may have eyes on him for a future Striker for the club, but with no EFL experience, they may be looking at a loan spell for him close to home to monitor his progress.
Cameron is only 20 years old, and with only National League and PL2 experience, a consistent spell in the EFL would provide a good step in his learning and development.
A performance like that against Barrow showed that Archer has goal scoring ability, especially against a League Two opposition, which is something that will certainly raise eyebrows at Walsall. At present, he has scored more goals than Walsall have this current season. Walsall are in the hunt for a striker, and Archer will be after regular action, which is something the Saddlers can offer.
Dean Smith is also a key link to all of this. He knows Walsall, and he knows that the club will give young players the opportunity to grow and develop, as he did when he was in charge. He also saw how Tyreik Wright was looked after, both on and off the pitch, and this will hopefully put Walsall in good stead.
Being local, it means that Villa can keep a close eye on his development should he spend time on loan with Walsall. It would provide them with the chance to call him back for training, or send scouts to the games very easily.
Do the Saddlers stand a chance?
The harsh reality is that Walsall will probably miss out on signing Archer on loan, if he is indeed available. Rumours are there that he has attracted a lot of attention from clubs throughout the EFL, meaning that Walsall could be extremely low on the pecking order.
Even if Villa want to keep him local, there are many other clubs that could fit the bill for them, with Coventry, Shrewsbury, and Burton Albion all higher up in the pyramid, and potentially a more attractive offer.
The chance of a loan may have skipped the club by. Last season, he was a National League player, and now, there are teams as high as the Championship taking an interest. It will be down to who makes an offer, and where Dean Smith sees his development best served that will decide the next step in Archer’s career.