EXETER City fans were left gripped on transfer deadline day as the Grecians announced a flurry of new signings designed to take the club to new heights.
The succession of signings were triggered by the sale of David Wheeler to Championship club QPR.
The winger, 21, spent four-and-a-half seasons at St James’ Park following his arrival from non-league Staines Town and alerted higher league clubs on the back of scoring 21 goals last season.
Wheeler established himself as an all-action winger capable of delivering good crosses and scoring goals.
But it is his aerial prowess that has really caught the eye with Wheeler able to produce an athletic leap and hang in the air to dominate the very tallest of defenders.
City rejected a number of offers over the summer but QPR’s bid, believed to be in excess of £500,000, persuaded Exeter bosses to sell the talented wide-man.
Having already trousered around £1.8million from the sale of Ollie Watkins to Brentford and locked in talks with Chelsea over a compensation fee for Ethan Ampadu, Exeter have received a cash windfall this summer.
And with Wheeler earning the Devon club another sizeable six-figure sum, the board have splashed out a club record fee to snap up Jayden Stockley from Scottish Premiership side Aberdeen.
That means the fee paid for Stockley exceeded the £80,000 paid to re-sign club legend Tony Kellow from Blackpool in 1980 – and is rumoured to be around £100,000.
The 23-year-old will bolster Exeter’s attacking options and fans are familiar with their new permanent signing after he spent the second half of the 2015/16 season on loan at St James’ Park.
Having graduated through the youth ranks at Bournemouth, Stockley went on loan to a number of clubs before making a permanent move to Aberdeen in the summer of 2016.
But he made only 13 starts for Aberdeen, scoring six goals, while most of his involvement revolved around coming off the substitute’s bench.
Yet Stockley’s arrival will certainly cushion the blow inflicted by Wheeler’s exit as the striker is a threat in the air and his all-action style is remarkably similar to the departing winger.
Stockley said: ‘I had my heart set on joining Exeter. It is where I have felt happiest and it is no coincidence that is where I have played my best football.’
Another permanent signing on deadline day came in the shape of Hiram Boateng, who arrived from Crystal Palace to add an extra dimension to City’s midfield.
The Grecians beat off stiff competition from the likes of Port Vale, Barnet and Old- ham Athletic to sign the 21- year-old.
Boateng is a powerful, box-to-box midfielder who has had successful loan spells at Plymouth Argyle, Bristol Rovers and Northampton Town, as well as featuring for Palace in an FA Cup tie against Stoke City.
The new signing already knows fellow City players Dean Moxey and Luke Croll from their time at Selhurst Park, and played alongside Reuben Reid at Home Park.
And it was conversations with these players which persuaded Boateng that St James’ Park was the best destination for the next stage of his career.
The midfielder said: ‘I spoke to them all and they only had good words to say about the club.
‘They told me that everyone will make you feel com- fortable here and it is a good club for you to develop and learn.’
His arrival could prove a masterstroke as it will give the Grecians a physical presence and bite in the central areas they perhaps currently lack.
Tisdale’s search for a right-back concluded with the loan signing of Kane Wilson from West Bromwich Albion. He will be at St James’ Park until January and will compete with Pierce Sweeney for the right-back spot.
The 17-year-old has represented England at under-16 and under-17 level and will link up with the City squad this week having been away on international duty.
Wilson made his Baggies debut a year ago in an EFL Cup clash at Northampton Town, but was on the bench on Sunday for West Brom’s Premier League clash with Stoke City.
And Exeter’s link with West Brom has paid further dividends with the loan acquisition of striker Kyle Edwards until January.
The 19-year-old will join Robbie Simpson, Liam McAlinden, Reid and Stockley in the Exeter forwards ranks.