Crewe Alexandra continued their summer recruitment with the recently announced signing of midfielder Anthony Grant.
The club had chased the midfielder to help fill the void left after Murphy’s departure, and on July 15, the club revealed on their official club site that Grant had signed a two-year deal with the Alex.
The 26-year-old joined after mutually agreeing with League One rivals Stevenage to terminate his contract.
The former England U19 international made 45 appearances in his debut season for Boro last term, but was placed on the transfer list in May to reduce the club’s wage bill.
Grant came through the ranks at Chelsea, making just one senior appearance. He was loaned to several clubs including Oldham Athletic, Wycombe Wanderers and Luton Town. Grant was then loaned to Southend and secured a permanent move to Roots Hall in 2008, where he went on to make over 150 appearances, scoring 10 goals, including one against Crewe in a 4-3 win.
The Alex have conducted their business efficiently so far and despite a minimal budget have already managed to ensure several new arrivals. Grant’s signature follows the captures of striker Vadaine Oliver, defender Thierry Audel and winger Lee Molyneux.
Later the same day, Steve Davis spoke to crewealex.net.
“Anthony is a player we have always liked and have always been impressed with," he commented. "He is one we have kept tabs on for a long time”
Crewe fans will be particularly impressed with Grant after Davis revealed: “He has really keen to come up and he has certainly not come for the money. He has taken a hit to come to Crewe, so that goes to show that he has come here for football reasons.”
He added: “He will have licence to get forward, create and score goals and although he won’t be a direct replacement for Luke Murphy, because he is impossible to place for us, he has plenty of character and a terrific engine on him.”
"He's not going to be Luke Murphy, and I don't want him to be," Alex boss Steve Davis told BBC Radio Stoke. "Replacing him was going to be virtually impossible with the resources we've got available at this football club.”
Anthony said to Crewe Alex Player: “The gaffer told me what he wants me to do and how the team will move forward. I want to be a part of that and I'll do whatever the gaffer asks me to and hopefully we will win games. I know I can go forward, sit, whatever, I like to play various positions and I hope that will help the team.”
Luke Murphy took the reigns as captain last season following Ashley Westwood’s departure. In the process, Murphy became a catalyst in the Crewe midfield, scoring numerous penalty kicks in the process. He also scored a fantastic finish from the edge of the penalty box following a well-worked corner in the 6th minute of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final at Wembley last season.
After his outstanding season and a place in the League One team of the year, Murphy attracted many clubs with around 30 rumoured to be interested in signing him at one point, including a host from the Championship and the Premier League.
Recently, Championship club Leeds United beat the competition to secure a £1m deal for the 23-year-old, leaving a significant gap in the Alex midfield. Murphy ended his 16-year association with the club having been the latest product from Crewe’s famed Academy.
It is hoped Grant’s arrival will help replace his creativity lacking in the Railwaymen’s midfield starting berth. Whilst Crewe boss Davis insists Murphy is irreplaceable, he will unquestionably be looking to shore up his midfield in preparation for the upcoming League One season.
Another potential arrival, Brad Inman, last season’s loanee signing could return to the club. The Australian-born Scottish U21 international had a monumental impact on the club’s fortunes, scoring 8 goals in 26 appearances.
A fond highlight of his loan stay at the Railwaymen was his instrumental role in the 3-0 victory away at Coventry City in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Northern Final. Inman scored a brace, including an exquisite solo goal where a mazy run through the Coventry defence ended with a low strike into the bottom corner.
There remains a possibility that Inman could return to Crewe as he has yet to accept a one-year-contract offer at his current club, he is reportedly weighing up his options and Crewe remain keen on signing on the attacking midfielder.
They face competition from Burnley but remain in touch with the player’s agent in the hope of persuading him to move to South Cheshire on a permanent basis.
One potential hitch in any possible deal would be that Newcastle would be due compensation due to the fact that he is under 24, the sum of this fee could halt the move.
Speaking of his loan move to Crewe, Inman said: “I got eight goals for Crewe in 26 appearances. It wasn't a bad scoring ratio.”
“I played in a midfield three with one holding and two attacking. I played on the left a couple of times, cutting inside and shooting.”
Davis is not done yet, Crewe Chronicle's Peter Morse revealed on Twitter that despite being happy with his squad, he is not necessarily finished with summer signings.
Time will only tell who is next to arrive to Gresty Road.
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