Saints swoop for Smith and target one last deal
The New Saints have swooped to make midfielder Leo Smith their second new signing of the summer – as boss Scott Ruscoe hopes to complete more transfer business this week.
Central midfielder Smith, 22, joins from Cymru Premier Division rivals Caernarfon Town, where he enjoyed a highly impressive season in helping Town finish fifth in the top flight, chipping in with four goals from 20 starts.
Ruscoe has been keen to refresh his squad with young talent during the close season, after the early conclusion of the Welsh top flight saw TNS pipped to the title by Connah’s Quay, as a run of eight league titles came to an end.
But the Saints chief has refused to make wholesale changes and instead intends to complete his transfer business by the end of this week by wrapping up a third and final signing before his side meet up to begin pre-season training next week.
“Leo is a young boy from Caernarfon, he’s played games already for Wrexham at National League level,” said Ruscoe, whose side face Europa League qualifying action on August 27. “He plays centrally and can play a couple of positions if needed. He’s got age on his side and will freshen it up a little bit.
“He’s played for two teams in the Welsh Premier, Caernarfon and Llandudno and has National League experience with Wrexham as a 17 or 18-year-old.
“We tried to get him in at Christmas but couldn’t get it through and have revisited and now is the right time to sign him.
“We’re also looking at one more – hopefully before the end of the week.
“My main aim was to get three in and fingers crossed we get the three to add to our already-competitive squad at the moment. I’ll be more than happy if we sign these two. He has a drive about him and has had an excellent season at Caernarfon.”
Smith joins fellow exciting prospect – 23-year-old Louis Robles, who moved from from Bala at the beginning of June – as the new faces through the door at Park Hall.
The former Wrexham youngster was a graduate of the youth team ranks at The Racecourse, where he went on to make more than 30 senior appearance after his debut in the 2016/17 season before loans at Llandudno and Caernarfon, the latter of which he made a permanent move last summer.
A former Wales youth international, he is described as a creative, technically-gifted midfielder with an eye for joining attacks from midfield and an impressive passing range.
Smith said: “I am delighted to sign for TNS! I feel it is the right place for me to be, to develop further as a player. It’s great to be back full-time again.
“It’s very clear how strong, consistent and dominant the club has been for many years. I feel the style of play that TNS is known for will suit me perfectly, and hopefully I can contribute towards what the club is looking to achieve again.”
New signings Smith and Robles will join the backbone of a familiar Saints squad, as Ruscoe was able to to tie down the futures of eight out-of-contract first-team squad members. Attacking stalwart Aeron Edwards, who left to join champions Connah’s Quay, is the only departure.