Orient make ex-Chester forward Alabi second signing of the summer
- Credit: David Simpson/TGS Photo
The O’s have signed the one-time England C international for an undisclosed fee
Leyton Orient have boosted their attacking options by signing 23-year-old forward James Alabi from Tranmere Rovers on a two-year deal.
The transfer is the club’s second of the summer after securing the services of central midfielder Dale Gorman earlier this month.
Alabi moves to Orient for an undisclosed fee with Rovers having to pay £22,500 to Chester in February after a tribunal following his arrival at Prenton Park in July.
He turned down a new contract with the Blues at the end of the 2016/17 campaign and then signed for Tranmere, but has struggled over the past 12 months.
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After spells with Stoke City and Celtic as a teenager, the Londoner returned to the Potters youth set-up in 2012 and continued his development in their academy.
Loans spells at Scunthorpe United (February 2013), Mansfield Town (October 2013) and Forest Green Rovers (November 2013) followed before he returned to the Iron in March 2014 on a loan deal until the end of the season.
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Alabi, 23, had another short loan spell in August 2014, this time signing for Accrington Stanley, but soon returned back to Stoke and was released in the summer of 2015.
His next move was a switch to Ipswich Town on a permanent basis and he spent more time out on loan in November 2015 when he signed for Grimsby Town.
In January 2016, 18 months after signing for the Tractor Boys, he was released and then ended up at National League outfit Chester.
It was at the Deva Stadium where Alabi finally settled and he played 16 times for the Blues in the second half of the 2015/16 season and scored six goals – including four in one game against Aldershot Town on March 8 2016.
After impressing so much at Chester, the forward agreed a new one-year contract in the summer of 2016 and enjoyed a strong campaign at the Blues.
He scored 17 times in 42 National League appearances, receiving one red card, but decided to bid farewell to the Deva come the conclusion of the term.
This was when a move to Tranmere ensued and Alabi has found life difficult since his departure from Chester.
Micky Mellon used the striker regularly during the opening month of the season, but chances became few and far between from September onwards and he signed for Dover Athletic on loan in October.
He remained at the Crabble Athletic Ground for an extended period of time and actually faced the O’s at Brisbane Road on November 18 and caught the eye during the 1-1 draw.
A permanent move to Ebbsfleet United was lined up for Alabi in January, but it fell through at the last moment and the south Londoner didn’t make another outing during the season from February 10 onwards.
Orient have decided to snap up his services on a free transfer now and will hope he can rediscover his Chester form in E10.
Justin Edinburgh has been after a big, powerful forward and Alabi fits the bill and will hopefully make the most of his opportunity in London and provide competition for Macauley Bonne.