On Tuesday, shortly after the statement from the EFL about the season being officially curtailed, Walsall announced their retained and released list. This was the news that Darrell Clarke and the club had been waiting for before releasing the list. Yesterday we looked at those that had been released, today we will look at those who have been offered new deals, and those that have had extension clauses triggered by the club.
Firstly, let’s look at the three players who have had options exercised by the club. Alfie Bates has been the brightest spark to come out of the academy for some time. He made 21 appearances and won the young player of the year in the Trust’s vote. He looked to fit right in to first team football, and fans are looking forward to seeing him develop for years to come. I am very glad that the club have him tied down for next season, and I would like to see them tie him down further as soon as possible. He will no doubt be pushing for more game time, and a competitive team all pushing each other for places is a healthy one. Yes there are still parts of his game that need improving, the odd misplaced pass, maybe better decision making, but with Danny Guthrie as a role model, I can see Bates quickly growing into some player.
Next up we have Elijah Adebayo. Elijah had a slow start at the club, which saw him score his first league goal in late September. However, he really started to show signs of development and progress in the last few weeks of the season, as he saw his goals tally rise to 8. Not only did his goalscoring improve, but his all round play did too, he was better on the ball, created more chances, and was threatening on the attack. It makes sense to keep him on, and with Lavery and Gordon, we look very good in the final third. Adebayo always seemed to have something about him, and I feel that if the season had have played out normally, he would have been threatening Gordon for the top scorer place, and as a fan, that is a battle I look forward to seeing next season.
Finally, we have Mat Sadler. With Darrell Clarke knowing he was about to add Sadler to his backroom staff, it makes sense that Marcus Stewart was released when he was. I am delighted at the news, especially given as Mat is so well respected in the dressing room. In an interview with the club, on Instagram live, Dan Scarr spoke of how he always talks with Sadler after a match to analyse the game, and to ask advice and for his opinion. This speaks volumes of what the players think, if there are already players asking his advice. We all know that Mat can more than hold his own as a CB in League 2, and he even had a good game or two as a LB, so overall I am very happy to see him staying around, even if we see his
So there we have the players that will be staying with us next season. Tomorrow we will look at those that have been offered deals to wrap up this series of articles.