Gillingham manager Steve Evans has insisted that the transfer embargo the club finds itself under will have very little impact on their preparations for the upcoming League One season.
The Gills are currently only able to sign free agents and players on half-season loan deals as a consequence of filling accounts late with Companies House as part of an EFL Monitored Loan Agreement. The club has previously revealed it took out a loan of £182k as part of the rescue package agreed between the EFL and the Premier League to help with the impact of Covid-19 on finances.
A further sanction imposed is a maximum squad size of 23 players after it was revealed last week that the Kent club were one of eight sides in the EFL to be put under an embargo.
Despite the restrictions, Evans has managed to recruit six new signings this summer and does not feel his attempts to bring in further players will be hampered.
“It doesn’t affect us,” the EFL veteran told KentOnline. “We are allowed 23 senior professionals and loan deals that even if they run to the end of the season every loan deal will have a break clause in January to suit parent and loanee club.
“We are not going to get to 23 senior professionals in our group, we would love to have 22-23, that would be the optimum number, but we don’t have the money to do that, so we have to go with a bit less in terms of quantity and try and keep our standards high in quality.”
Despite Evans’ characteristic defiance, the embargo will surely harm Gillingham’s chances of building on last season’s 10th place finish in the third tier.
Jack Bonham, Jordan Graham and Connor Ogilvie have all departed, and although the Gills have moved quickly to find reinforcements, having limitations on being able to find replacements for three of their standout performers in the 2020/21 season is not ideal.
The forgiving nature of the embargo – in terms of allowing free signings and loans – does mean it would perhaps be premature to panic at this stage.