Big-spending League Two clubs have 'changed the landscape of the January transfer window' - Mansfield Town manager

‘They're paying big fees and also matching that with big wages in an effort to avoid going out of the league.’
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The big business being done by Gillingham and Colchester United has ‘changed the landscape of the January transfer window’ for other clubs in League Two, according to Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough.

The Stags have been victims of Gillingham’s new wealth with both George Lapslie and Oliver Hawkins leaving Field Mill for Priestfield this month, although perhaps the most eye-catching move was Timothee Dieng’s decision to drop down from League One to the club at the bottom of the EFL.

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Tom Nichols was another to join the Gills, who have since won back-to-back games, while fellow strugglers Colchester United have also been busy with six January additions, including Tom Hopper, Matt Jay and Connor Hall from the division above.

Nigel CloughNigel Clough
Nigel Clough

Mansfield are competing with Cobblers at the other end of the division and have brought in Alfie Kilgour, Callum Johnson and Louis Reed. It’s been quieter at Sixfields where no-one has left and Will Hondermarck and Tom King have been the only signings.

"We made George Lapslie a couple of what we thought were very good contract offers that his representative turned down,” revealed Clough.

“Then we received this joint offer from Gillingham for Oli Hawkins and George Lapslie which I believe will rise to six figures if Gillingham stay in the league.

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“They both had four or five months left on their contract and I don't think either of them really wanted to leave. But we have to look at it all ways round.

“From the lads' points of view, the financial packages that were put on the table were significantly more than we could get to – and we think we are good payers.

“Money does talk and Colchester and Gillingham have changed the landscape of the January transfer window to a large degree with the sort of deals they are offering.

“They're paying big fees and also matching that with big wages in an effort to avoid going out of the league. It is so tight down there as it is at the top.

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“Owners of clubs are not daft and they will look at the two clubs who went down last season and Scunthorpe are now bottom of the National League and Oldham are down there as well.

“It's not just about dropping out the league. It is what are you chances of getting back in?"