Record bid priced out, but Stags boss Evans closes in on three targets

Mansfield Town's Manager Steve Evans - Pic Chris Holloway
Mansfield Town's Manager Steve Evans - Pic Chris Holloway

Mansfield Town boss Steve Evans is closing in on three major targets just over 24 hours before January’s transfer window slams shut.

It does look like last week’s main target – the subject of a club record bid of £350,000 – has been priced out the equation at the moment.

But Evans is delighted with the quality of the three he looks able to bring in and now just wants to get the deals complete as soon as possible.

“We are very much closer, but they are never done until they’re done,” he said.

“We have had a player in this morning, I’ve showed him round the facilities and we are just waiting on his club to give us permission to make it happen. We have to be a bit patient on that.

“On the second one, I am waiting on a call back from the manager now, and on the third, we are just about to make a move.

“We understand he has just possibly become available.”

Evans added: “One of the players I want in was here watching on Saturday and said afterwards to me, tongue in cheek, how am I going to get in that team? I think second half it was as good as we’ve played.

“He went away impressed and he’s here today and happy to make something happen, provided of course we can get the nod from their chairman.

“So we have lots of little things going on and on top of that we have got back-ups to those.

“The one thing we want to make sure when we all go to bed tomorrow night is that Mansfield Town Football Club has a playing squad good enough to try to have a good end to the season.”

Stags last week bid a club record £350,000 for a player, believed to be Exeter City striker Ollie Watkins.

But it would seem at this moment the player’s club have priced him out of what Mansfield are prepared to pay.

“We haven’t dropped our interest but I think the big deal is more than we are prepared to pay. And it’s a lot more.

“Our chairman said to me, let’s establish if it’s more or a lot more, and it’s a lot more.

“There is no doubt John Radford would have paid more money and we’d have got that deal done. But I think the kid’s representatives was prepared to bring the boy here and have a chat.”

Evans is hopeful of getting his men well before the 11pm deadline tomorrow but is no stranger to getting deals over the line right at the death.

“I am prepared for a long day today, but hopefully it won’t be tomorrow as we are chasing through to the 11pm deadline,” he said.

“You always like improving what you’ve got. We want to improve the product for the Mansfield Town supporters.

“I’d like three in – the chairman is okay with that. He know what we are trying to do.

“I had a fantastic meeting with him last Thursday when we spoke for three or four hours on nothing but football and players.

“In an ideal world if I was sitting here tomorrow night at 11pm with the three I am in for now then we will be better than we are today.

“That doesn’t mean they will start every game, but they are adding some quality in key positions.”

He continued: “I would like to go to a game at Luton tomorrow night. Hopefully that can still happen.

“But I can remember my time at Rotherham United, the deadline was 11pm and we signed a boy from Norwich, Luciano Becchio, and it was registered at 10.59 and 47 seconds.

“There were sweats in the office and, of course, you don’t know from the Football League for an hour. So we sat in the office until midnight before we got the fact back it had been registered in time.

“We don’t want to be in that position tomorrow. We want to be in control of it.”