This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Millwall are among the EFL clubs keen on Exeter City’s Matt Jay ahead of the January transfer window, Football League World can reveal exclusively reveal.
Around 20 clubs are said to have watched him already this season with Barnsley, Millwall, and Portsmouth among the sides interested.
So, would Jay be a good signing for the Lions? And is he good enough for the Championship?
We quizzed our FLW writers…
The likes of Benik Afobe and Matt Smith aren’t guaranteed to be long-term options at The Den, so bringing in Matt Jay with his leadership skills as current Exeter City captain could be a smart move.
Preston made a similar move for Jayden Stockley a couple of years ago and that didn’t exactly work out, but it could potentially be a more affordable option both in terms of the transfer fee being demanded and the wages he will receive.
So whether he’s good enough for the Championship remains to be seen. Individually, Jay may benefit from a year or two in League One before making the step up, but it’s a gamble worth taking for Millwall who will only have a limited amount of money at their disposal to spend.
They also need to think for the long term. The rewards could be huge for the Lions if Jay can replicate his scoring form, especially if Jed Wallace leaves because that would leave quite a sizeable goalscoring void in Gary Rowett’s side.
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Matt Jay has consistently proven over the last 18 months that he is head and shoulders above the rest of the creative sparks in League Two.
He has excellent technical ability, and despite not necessarily being a young player, he can still go onto enjoy an excellent career in the higher divisions.
When speaking about Millwall in recent seasons, a lot of talk has been centred about there being an over-reliance on Jed Wallace when it comes to the attacking third.
Jay is someone who can grow into that role, if Wallace does depart for the Premier League in January or in the summer, but he can also work alongside the talismanic figure at The Den, taking some of the creative expectations away from Wallace.
Jay certainly has the technical ability to operate in the Championship, and whilst the second-tier represents a big step up, should he make the move, he is someone who can adapt to that and shine.
Have Millwall ever been involved in these 18 scenarios?
Millwall could do with having an extra player in their squad that can add goals and creativity to the side to take some of the pressure away from Jed Wallace.
Having said that, Sheyi Ojo’s arrival on loan from Liverpool has shown signs that it will ease some of the burden from Wallace as well. So, the need for a new attacking midfielder or creative winger is not as great as it would have been had he not arrived in the summer.
Matt Jay though would be a potentially very smart signing for Millwall to make in the near future. The attacking midfielder has been a standout performer in League Two for Exeter City so far this term and he is developing into a player with the ability to arrive late in the box and grab goals.
The attacking midfielder has room for further development with him still only 25-years-old and that means that he is a good age for Millwall to sign him and it would mean they get the prime years of his career.
The step up from League Two to the Championship is a sizeable one and Jay would potentially need time to adapt. However, he has shown enough quality with Exeter to suggest that he could potentially be ready to make that step.