Published: 06:00, 07 August 2020
Gillingham have made an increased offer to striker Brandon Hanlan in a bid to keep him at the club.
The 23-year-old is understood to have turned down Gillingham’s initial contract offer but he’s now considering whether to accept an improved deal.
Hanlan joined the Gills two years ago after being released by Charlton Athletic, enjoying a promising first season and an even better second one.
Manager Steve Evans believes he can keep on getting more out of the striker, who finished the season with seven goals to his name. Goals are the only thing holding the striker back right now after often giving League 1 defences the runaround.
The Gills boss currently has two strikers on the books, big men John Akinde and new signing Vadaine Oliver. He’ll want two more who can add a different dimension and Hanlan would fit the bill.
Hanlan is training with the Gills while he makes up his mind and that’s fine with Evans, who said: “Brandon is still developing his game and there is more to come, that is my opinion. I think in the next six to 12 months we can develop him even more.
“I think last year he was a long way ahead of where he was the year before, and there is more to come, but that is for others to decide.
“Brandon rang and asked if he could train and I said ‘of course you can, you are part of it.’
“The chairman has made what the board would consider here a fair offer and that is now for Brandon to decide if he wants to be part of it.
“He has not said yes, not said no. He is in training and obviously wants to stay sharp. If he walks out tomorrow and agrees something we will respect him. We have got him in the group and he will be treated properly, as he should be.
“We want him to stay but if he leaves he will go with our best wishes. He is a good kid. There is no bad feeling whatsoever but I think he has had some poor advice."
The Gills would be due compensation for the player if he decides to move to another English side, which could put some off.
Evans currently has a small squad but may add to it before the weekend. He’s closing in on “three to four” loan signings as well as “two or three” permanent deals.
Including Hanlan, Evans has eight senior players training, plus Henry Woods and Toby Bancroft, who are both expected to be sent out on loan early on next season. Oliver hasn’t trained with the club yet having only just won promotion with Northampton Town at Wembley.
Lee Hodson’s representatives are still in talks with a couple of potential suitors but he is training with the club.
Gillingham’s League 1 rivals Oxford United, meanwhile, have signed Sean Clare from Scottish side Hearts on a three-year deal.
The 23-year-old attacking midfielder had a great loan spell with the Gills in the 2017/18 season before returning to his parent club Sheffield Wednesday. Former boss Steve Lovell was keen to bring him back permanently but he moved to the SPL instead.