Speculation season is here for MK Dons

    Image Credit: Milton Keynes Dons Football Club

    Speculation season has arrived for Milton Keynes Dons, with multiple reports and rumours about the team floating around.

    With the Dons' season ended in the playoff semi-finals, speculation is bound to arise about the team and their purported targets as well as their current players, or staff, attracting interest from clubs in the Championship.

    Just over a week into the Dons' off-season, and already there are multiple reports and rumours commenting on the Dons and their plans going forward.

    Liam Manning Interests QPR

    After guiding the team to third place in League One in his debut season, just one point behind the automatic playoff spots, head coach Liam Manning is bound to have admirers at a higher level - and it did not take long for speculation over his future to arise.

    The Evening Standard ran a story that claimed the Dons were bracing themselves for an approach from Championship side Queens Park Rangers - with the London club eager to instil his philosophies and style of play in order to improve on this season's 11th-place finish.

    Reports on the Dons boss and QPR's interest appear to have cooled recently, with former England international Sol Campbell emerging as a potential candidate for the job.

    This may give fans of the Milton Keynes club some room to breathe, with hope that the club can avoid replacing another coaching staff just one season after seeing Russell Martin and Co leave for the challenge of the second tier last summer.

    Harry Darling's Future

    One of the most prominent stories to come out in recent days has been the future of Players' Player of the Year, Harry Darling. The centre back has had a superb season at Stadium MK, scoring ten goals in 49 appearances across all competitions, and is expected to attract interest from multiple clubs at the next level.

    However, much has been made of his recent post of social media where he signed off the last season with a comment that gives fans some hope of seeing him return: "See you all next season."

    Retaining Darling's services would be a home run hit for the Dons, but reports out of Wales indicate that former boss Martin could still be interested in signing the 22-year-old for Swansea City - just as he did for the Dons in January last year.

    As speculation begins to ramp up, expect to see Darling's name mentioned in multiple reports over the coming weeks.

    Freddie Ladapo

    After seeing Rotherham pip them to second place, the Dons could potentially target one of the key players from their promotion-winning campaign, Freddie Ladapo.

    According to reports, Hull City are interested in the striker after he scored 15 goals and provided four assists in 41 games across all competitions this season, but the Tigers are expecting to face competition from the Dons for his services.

    The 29-year-old is available on a free transfer this summer as his contract is due to expire, and it is believed that he will not be signing a new deal with the Millers despite scoring 41 goals and adding seven assists in 123 total games over the past three seasons - including two promotions to the Championship.

    The Dons are light at the top end of the pitch, with only Mo Eisa currently signed up for next season, so the need to add more in the goalscoring department will be at the top of the agenda for the club.

    Adding a player of Ladapo's experience and proven quality in League One, with three consecutive seasons with double-digit goals in the third tier, would go a long way to helping the Dons build another contender for next season.

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