Bradden Inman may not be a footballer you’ve heard of if you don’t eagerly follow the lower English leagues, but the mere mention of the 21-year-old’s name in the vicinity of South Cheshire can spark the highest of appraisals from local supporters.
The Australian-born Scot spent seven months of the 2012-13 season on loan at Crewe Alexandra and had a profound impact on both the fans and the club’s fortunes. Totalling 8 goals from 22 starts, Bradden became a fantastic creative output for the Alex last season.
Upon his arrival on 22 November, no-one could have foreseen the talent they had acquired. The young prospect showed pace and trickery in abundance and displayed his creative flair weekly at Gresty Road.
Inman also developed a reputation for his work ethic and his direct style of play.
He does not shy away from the opportunity to dribble through defences and has the unpredictable ability to unlock the opposition with an incisive pass or exemplify his impressive eye for goal.
The attacking midfielder played a pivotal role in the Railwaymen’s progression into the Johnston’s Paint Trophy final at Wembley Stadium in which they went on to defeat Southend United - claiming the first major trophy in the club’s history.
In the 1st leg of the Northern final against Coventry City, he was instrumental in a 3-0 away victory in which he grabbed a brace.
Inman set the Ricoh alight with a strike from inside the box that gave Crewe a 1-0 lead before a superb solo effort doubled their advantage over the Sky Blues.
In fact, Crewe twice extended his loan to further utilise his attacking potential throughout the season.
Inman has yet to accept a one-year contract offer from his current club, Newcastle United, which has left the door open for the Scottish U21 international to return to the Alex.
He is reportedly keen on a permanent move to Crewe but complications have delayed the deal. Due to Inman’s age, he could not leave on a free transfer and therefore the Magpies would be owed compensation from whoever Inman moves to.
The issue is that Crewe and Newcastle are yet to settle on an exact fee, stalling the move. If he was to reject Newcastle’s contract offer in favour of a return to Cheshire and the two clubs did not agree a compensation fee then an independent panel would examine the case and decide upon a valuation for the player.
A tribunal would dictate the fee owed to Newcastle which could be potentially hazardous for the Alex, as they would be forced to pay the fee no matter how expensive it is.
This presents a dilemma as Steve Davis has been forced to manage the side with a minimal budget and despite large fees received from the sales of Nick Powell, Ashley Westwood and Luke Murphy in recent years, Crewe have never been known to reinvest large sums of money in the starting squad. Instead, a vast majority of these funds are pumped into the upkeep of their famed Academy.
A fee decided by either an independent panel or between the two clubs to acquire the player’s services is likely to be high due to his ability and age. Nevertheless the club’s fans are encouraging the move with some claiming he is “worth every penny” and would be “the signing of the summer”.
Inman has hinted at a desire to return to Gresty Road through the means of social networking as his twitter feed seems to that indicate he has been waiting for something to happen as he tweets about patience and claims he is “waiting for his moment.”
BBC Radio Stoke’s sports editor Graham McGarry also took to Twitter on 25 July to confirm “Brad Inman at #CAFC training ground” prompting many Alex fans to assume a transfer is imminent.
The League One outfit are in on-going talks with the Premier League club and boss Steve Davis quashed such rumours by telling BBC Radio Stoke that no deal had been agreed with Newcastle yet.
"He appears keen to come. He hasn't expressed wishes to go anywhere else. But we're no further forward than last week. We've not agreed anything yet.
"If we can agree something, then we will do something," added Davis.
"He's down at the club but we can't do anything with him in terms of training until we try and sort out something with Newcastle."
The Adelaide born midfielder finds himself in a difficult predicament as Crewe may not have the finances to secure his signature.
Despite his evident availability, it is rumoured that the only other interested club are Championship side Burnley.
So as the Scotland U21 international feels skeptic towards the potential opportunities to feature regularly at Newcastle and there is the possibility than he cannot secure a move to his dream destination, what will happen to Bradden Inman?
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