Published: 05:00, 12 May 2022
Ben Thompson will be in demand this summer but manager Neil Harris hasn’t ruled Gillingham out of the running.
The former Millwall player would be a huge signing for the Gills in League 2 and Harris will be hoping the club’s location and his relationship with the player could outweigh some of the financial temptation elsewhere.
Thompson joined the Gills in January after agreeing to terminate his Millwall contract. He did his best to shine in a struggling team and was an ever-present.
“I would never say there isn’t a chance of Ben Thompson working with me, he goes on the released list just because he has to,” said Harris.
“I want him to stay, he lives 15 minutes up the road, he has played for me for a long time and we have a close relationship.
“Ben Thompson is a top, top player in League 1. In my opinion he would be one of the top three players in League 2 next season. He knows there is a home for him at Gillingham Football Club.”
While Gills’ location would suit Thompson, it’s been a big factor in the club losing the services of striker Vadaine Oliver and goalkeeper Aaron Chapman, two players that Harris would have liked to keep.
With a young family living in the north, Oliver was keen to return home after two seasons with the Gills.
“Me and Vadaine get on brilliantly, a great relationship,” said Harris.
“I was very happy that he was here on February 1 [when Harris took over]. I didn’t say a lot at the time but Vadaine could have gone before I got here, if he had I wouldn’t have taken the job.
“It was a really good relationship we had but (his partner) had a baby, he has three boys, two are at school and his wife couldn’t relocate because of it. I have three children myself and know what it feels like, he goes with my best wishes and thanks, good luck to him.”
Chapman also heads back north after enjoying his time playing under Harris.
Harris said: “Chappy’s family is based in Sheffield, he had a lot on his plate being down here on his own, he wants to be near his family, logistically, and family comes first for me always.
“Aaron did great for me, was really pleased and really liked his character but as we stand it doesn’t work for him, it is one of those things.”