Page prepared to raid ‘free agent’ market, but move for Dean Cox not an option

Dean Cox
Dean Cox

Dean Cox will not be able to sign for the Cobblers, despite the fact he is effectively a free agent after having his contract cancelled at Leyton Orient.

The winger was one of Town’s main targets on transfer deadline day, but manager Page was unable to get the deal done for the 29-year-old ahead of Wednesday’s 11pm deadline

In a strange twist, Cox had his Os contract cancelled by mutual consent on Thursday afternoon, the day after the transfer window closed, leading to suggestions the player now may be able to sign on at Northampton or another club of his choice after all.

But that is not the case.

The decision to cancel his contract does leave the player as a free agent as he is without a club but, due to the new EFL rules, he is now unable to sign for a Football League club until the January transfer window opens.

Players are only allowed to sign for League clubs outside of the transfer window if they were out of contract prior to 11pm on transfer deadline day, and Cox was still registered as an Os player at that time.

It seems Cox’s only option for immediate football is to sign for a non-League club, but if he does that he will not be able to join a League club in January either, as the rules state players can only play for two clubs in any one season.

It is all a bit of a mess, and when asked about it, Page said: “It is something you would have to talk to the player about and the agent, as that is their problem not ours.

“We showed interest (in signing Cox) and we were close, but you’ll have to speak to the player and agent about how they go about their business.”

Although the signing of Cox is not an option, Page admits he will be scouring the free agent market to bolster his squad if the right player is available.

“We are looking, and we are always open to adding quality to the squad,” said the Town boss.

“If it means now we will do it with free agents, then we will look at that.

“There are a lot of players out of contract at the minute, good quality players as well, and if we can improve the squad we will do.

“I have the backing of the chairman on that as well, he has been fantastic with this, and we will keep our eyes peeled and see if there is anybody out there that can improve us.”