Scouring the lower leagues for transfer gems is a tricky business as, for every Carl Jenkinson, there seems to be two or three Jon Steads waiting to fool top-flight managers into paying big bucks for football’s equivalent of tat.
Hull coach Steve Bruce is thought to be preparing to spin the League One tombola wheel this summer by readying a bid for Peterborough’s 21-goal forward Britt Assombalonga.
It’s no surprise that Bruce feels the FA Cup finalists – who are 12/5 to lift the trophy for the first time in their history – need more strikers, even with forward pair Nikica Jelavic and Shane Long performing well since signing for Hull in January.
The £13m duo have bagged three goals apiece in their 23 combined appearances under Bruce, which – somewhat shockingly – makes them the club’s joint-top Premier League scorers this term, alongside midfielders Robbie Brady, Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore.
Hull’s need for even more striking reinforcement is clear and their embattled coach, according to reports, has turned his attentions to a division that’s showcased some cracking forwards, who’ve gone on to much bigger things, in the past half-decade.
Southampton and England striker Rickie Lambert topped the League One scoring ranks for two seasons on the trot in 2008/09 (when he tied with Swindon’s Simon Cox) and 2009/10, first with Bristol Rovers and then with the Saints, before continuing his march up the league ladder and into Roy Hodgson’s World Cup thoughts.
Injuries have restricted Crystal Palace’s Glenn Murray to just three Premier League starts since they returned to the promised land, but the third tier’s second-highest scorer in 2010/11 – with 22 goals for Brighton – showed his class with a league leading 30 Championship strikes for the Eagles last term.
That division is currently being burned up to the tune of 24 goals by Blackburn’s Jordan Rhodes, the 2011/12 League One top scorer with a whopping 36 strikes and the top flight’s bottom half are expected to get in line for the Scottish international’s signature come the end of the current campaign.
Dredging League One for striking talent doesn’t always work – last term’s top scorer Paddy Madden, for example, has already dropped down to the bottom tier after a fruitless first-half to Yeovil’s Championship campaign.
However, the trio of recent examples already stated suggest that Assombalonga, who doesn’t turn 22 until the end of this year, is worth a Premier League punt at the right price.