Dagenham & Redbridge get busy in January despite no transfer window to worry about
PUBLISHED: 14:00 01 February 2017
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Daggers brought in three new faces during first month of 2017
While there is no such thing as the January transfer window for clubs in the National League, Dagenham & Redbridge were still pretty busy during the first month of 2017.
Three new faces arrived at Victoria Road, while two players had their deals extended and two others had extra months added to their loan deals elsewhere.
On what is traditionally ‘Deadline Day’, forward Shomari Barnwell had his loan spell at Bishop’s Stortford in the National League South extended until February 28.
That followed the news earlier in January that Jakub Berkowicz would be staying with Barkingside of the Essex Senior League until the end of the season.
Two other players did depart Daggers for good during the month, as Chris Assombalonga left for Ryman Premier outfit Billericay Town and Magnus Okuonghae was released.
As for the incomings, all three provide some much needed depth in key areas for Daggers.
Loanees Shaun Donnellan, from West Bromwich Albion, and Jake Sheppard, from Reading, will both add depth in defence, while Jake Howells, who arrived on a free transfer after his release from Eastleigh, will bolster the midfield.
In addition to the new boys, Sam Ling had his short-term deal extended until the end of the season after impressing since joining in September, and Daggers would do well to keep him past the summer.
And though he is not a permanent member of the squad, Jordan Maguire-Drew was another to have his deal extended, with his loan from Brighton & Hove Albion now running to the end of the season.
Perhaps the Essex club’s best bit of business did not come in bringing in or selling players, but in keeping hold of them.
It was expected Daggers would face a difficult battle to keep hold of top scorer Oliver Hawkins, and early in January there was talk of a £250,000 move to the Championship.
League One outfit Swindon Town had a six-figure bid turned down, while Ipswich Town were understood to have made enquiries before signing Kieffer Moore from Forest Green Rovers.
Thankfully for Daggers, interest in Hawkins died down after it emerged they had slapped a £500,000 price tag on his head, with any deal also to include a loan back until the end of the season.
Other key men, such as Corey Whitely and Fejiri Okenabirhie, were rumoured to have slight interest in them from Football League clubs, but nothing ever materialised.
There is still an outside chance the trio might depart for a club in the National League, but Daggers would hardly sell to a title rival.
So much is at stake for Daggers this season that it was important they kept hold of their star men in January, regardless of the offers received and the overtures of Football League teams.
The summer, however, could be a different story, no matter what division they find themselves in.