Who Should St. Johnstone Sign in January? 3 Players we Think Callum Davidson Should Consider

It is safe to say that St. Johnstone aren't currently on their greatest run of form and many see this as a failure of the summer transfer window, with key men such as Ali McCann and Jason Kerr leaving and useful squad members including Guy Melamed, Scott Tanser and Craig Conway all departing and being replaced by a raft of loanees and free transfers.

[McCann and Kerr departed the club in the summer]


On deadline day our dealings read; McCann & Kerr OUT, Crawford (6-month loan), MacPherson (season-long loan), and Dendoncker (season-long loan) IN.


There was plenty of backlash at the time and despite all 3 players arriving in Perth being decent footballers in their own right, the nature of the deals was certainly a stumbling block for the fans. Saints now find themselves 10th in the table and just 3 points clear of the automatic relegation zone.


The recruitment in January is being frequently discussed as it looms large with the importance of getting it right as high as I ever remember. With Centre Back Dan Cleary already looking to be drafted in, as well as having Crawford's loan extended St. Johnstone must be painfully aware of this fact.


Reinforcements are not a matter of if but a matter of when and they are a necessity for Davidson's side. The manager himself said:


"It is going to be a big window for us. There are areas where we want to be better and we know what we want.

[Davidson is growing increasingly frustrated with his sides recent performances]


"The chairman has given me the go ahead to see what is out there but I will only bring in players I think will improve the team.


"We are working hard to do that."


So, with a busy window of ins and potentially outs ahead, here are 3 players who we believe Davidson should consider signing, each player will be rated on the following criteria; quality, cost, how they would fit the system, and the likelihood of the signing.


Matty Kennedy


Ex-saints star Matty Kennedy left St. Johnstone 2 years ago this January after a promising 18-month spell in Perth. The 27-year-old joined Aberdeen and whilst he featured heavily under Derek McInnes, he has fallen by the wayside under new manager Stephen Glass.

[Kennedy battles with Taylor for the ball]


Kennedy has only played 4 games under Glass and is yet to feature this campaign. He was on the bench for both legs of their European triumph over Swedish side Hacken and was on the verge of a loan move to St. Mirren in the summer before he picked up a back injury which has kept him out of action.


How Good of a Player is Kennedy?


Whilst Matty Kennedy is a very familiar player for Saints fans, a quick recap of his talents will do no harm. The flying Winger came through the ranks at Kilmarnock, playing 14 games for the club as a teenager before swapping Ayrshire for Merseyside and joining David Moyes's Everton.


However, Kennedy would never make a first-team appearance for the club and was set out on loan moves to Tranmere Rovers, MK Dons, and Hibernian before departing Goodison Park, joining Cardiff City. He would only play 22 games across 3 years with the 'Blue Birds', with more loan moves, this time to Port Vale, Plymouth Argyle, and Portsmouth.


in 2018 he would then join Tommy Wright's St. Johnstone upon the expiry of his contract, where he would soon win over the Saint support with his exciting play style as he established himself as a key player in Perth.

[Kennedy in action for St. Johnstone]

During his 18 months under Wright he would score 12 goals and bag 7 assists in 62 games - the best output he has had at any club in his career so far, and the team he has played the most games for. He would then join his current club Aberdeen where he has seen limited game time.


Overall the Northern Ireland international has played 275 career games and recorded 29 goals and 35 assists.

[Kennedy plays for Northern Ireland]


Kennedy is naturally a winger who thrives off of the left and can also play on the right or through the middle. He may not have the best end product but he is incredibly skillful and is very talented, for a team devoid of goals he could make a massive difference.


Likelihood of the Signing


Matty Kennedy left St. Johnstone in January 2020 to join Aberdeen, with the Winger heading to the 'Granite City' for a fee of around £80,000.


His St. Johnstone contract was set to expire the following summer when he would have been available as a free agent which heavily impacted the fee received. His current Aberdeen contract expires in May 2023 which means that it would take a transfer fee to prize Kennedy away from the Dons.


However, he was wanting out in the summer and came close to joining St. Mirren on loan before the deal collapsed in its final stages due to a back injury. His current market value is put at around £400,000 by Transfermarkt. Despite this, I reckon Saints would be able to agree to a lower fee. Whilst it would require Steve Brown to dip his hand into his pocket personally I think an affordable deal could be agreeable.


Saints arguably aren't in the market for a Winger at the moment, with plenty of options out wide and he would likely play in a front three which Saints have not really played this season. If he was brought in on a permanent basis this would also create selection dilemmas upon Wotherspoon's return.

[Kennedy was a fan favourite in Perth]


St. Johnstone are not really in need of a Winger, with Solomon-Otabor, O'Halloran, Wotherspoon, and Middleton. However, Kennedy would be a huge improvement out wide as he is a fantastic player. He would have a huge impact on the current side, especially in a creative sense.


Rating: 7/10


Michael McKenna


Michael McKenna is a 30-year-old midfielder who currently plays for high-flying cinch Championship Arbroath, under the tutelage of Dick Campbell. He has been a regular for the 'Litchies' this season and is a key player for the part-timers.


How Good of a Player is McKenna?


McKenna is an Attacking Midfielder who came through the youth ranks at Musselburgh Windsor, before joining Musselburgh Athletic FC and then Livingston in 2014. After 1 year and 33 appearances in West Lothian, he then signed for Berwick Rangers where he would spend the next 2 and a half years.


In 2018 McKenna then signed for Arbroath where he still is today. The 30-year-old has played 144 games in that time grabbing 32 and assisting 17 as he helped the club win the League One title and establish themselves as a competitive championship outfit.

[McKenna in action for Arbroath]


This season he has really come alive, scoring 11 in 16 games so far this campaign - sitting far and away the cinch Championship top scorer whilst also having assisted a further 5 goals which has him amongst the highest assisters in the division.


McKenna is a versatile player, whilst favouring an Attacking Midfield role he can also fill in on the right, just behind the Striker or in the middle of the park. However, he is most effective in the opposition half.

[McKenna scores for Arbroath]


McKenna would likely play behind the Striker or perhaps in a front two as a Deep Lying Forward, he could play up front with Kane or instead of Crawford in the midfield 3. He has shown he can more than cut it in the Championship this campaign and could be a really handy addition. He scores and assists goals for fun and if he was able to translate that into his game in Perth he would be an inspired signing.


Likelihood of the Signing


Michael McKenna is flying with Arbroath and he certainly isn't a player they won't want to lose in January but they may not have a choice as his contract is due to expire in summer 2022 which means that he is able to leave the club for free in the next 6 months.


Should Saints come in for the 30-year-old you would not imagine it would require a large fee to prize him away from Arbroath, although they will want a fair price for their star man (understandably) so it will depend on whether St. Johnstone are willing to stump up any potential asking price.


McKenna is currently valued at £135,000 by transfermarkt, but any fee would likely be lower than this.

[McKenna scores for Arbroath]


I think that if St. Johnstone were to approach McKenna he would join the club, his wages should not be a huge issue. The main issue would be whether he would want to make the step up to full-time football or not.


Rating: 6/10


Brad Spencer


Brad Spencer is a Central Midfielder who plays for Raith Rovers in the cinch Championship, he has been a mainstay in the Kirkcaldy side's starting 11 as they chase promotion to the top flight.


How Good of a Player is Brad Spencer?


Spencer started out across the Atlantic at the Houston Dynamo Academy but he failed to break into the first team, coming to Scotland where he would join Kilmarnock in 2017. He didn't manage to play any games for 'Killie' and was released in 2018 - signing for Dumbarton.


He would play 19 games for Dumbarton, showing glimpses of his potential and earning a move to Forfar Athletic where he would make 14 appearances - catching the eye of Raith Rovers.


Spencer then joined 'Rovers' in 2019, earning promotion in his first season at the club back into the Championship. He has gone from strength to strength in the Championship, playing 26 games last campaign as Raith narrowly missed out on promotion via the play-offs.

[Spencer in action for Raith Rovers]


This season he has already made 14 appearances as Raith Rovers battle Kilmarnock, Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Arbroath and Partick Thistle - with his side sitting 1 point off of top spot in 2nd.


So far this season he has been instrumental in Raith's passing game deployed by John McGlynn, with the 25-year-old playing 601 passes so far this campaign which puts him in the top 15 in the division for passes played, with a 79.1% success rate.


He plays in the middle of the park and is comfortable slotting into a more defensive role but likes to thread the ball forward for the attackers to chase - which could be very useful with Michael O'Halloran and Glen Middleton especially liking to get on the end of through passes in behind.

[Spencer playing against Dunfermline]


Spencer is an all-round midfielder and I think that he could be a handy addition to the Saints squad and would really help us control the midfield, recently it has felt as though the ball is a hot potato whilst in possession, so far this campaign we have given the ball away needlessly far too often and he is a player who likes to keep the side ticking over.


If we did go in for him he could slot into a midfield 3 with perhaps Davidson and Bryson and would offer something a little different to what we already have.


Likelihood of the Signing


Spencer is out-of-contract in the summer and would be available on a free transfer. The midfielder would be allowed to speak to other clubs in January and sign a pre-contract agreement.


This would perhaps allow St. Johnstone to pick him up for a cut-price and with his value currently at £270,000 as per Transfermarkt, he would be an affordable option and should Saints be interested he would be a realistic signing.


However, with Raith Rovers currently on the rise and in with a good shout of promotion, and St. Johnstone looking more and more likely to be in a relegation scrap, Spencer may just stick with the Kirkcaldy side if presented with the choice.


He also picked up an injury last time out against Arbroath, although its severity is unknown.

[Spencer comes off injured]


Rating: 8/10


As said at the start, none of these players are actually linked with St. Johnstone but are in fact just suggestions of players who I would like to see at Saints. If anyone would like us to take a look at some other potential January signings, leave a suggestion on our social medias and we will do a part 2!





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