Torquay United are close to finalising deals for three permanent signings this summer, reports manager Gary Johnson.

Johnson wants four or five new additions to join the 15 players already re-signed, to help the Gulls mount a National League promotion challenge in 2020-2021.

With the start of next season still to be announced, few clubs or players are actually committing themselves at the moment.

But Johnson revealed: “I’ve got verbal agreements with two players, and we’re very close to a third.

“You can never be certain about these things, but I’m probably looking for another couple at the moment.”

Exeter City released nine players after their L2 play-off final defeat by Northampton Town last week, including ex-Plainmoor loan defender Gary Warren, who has been tipped for a permanent move here.

“We are checking on everybody who is being released from all clubs, but timing will be a big factor this summer, more than any other,” said Johnson.

“Because a lot of clubs got rid of a lot of their staff early and haven’t signed anyone since, people will panic later.”

One area where United won’t be spending too much is agents.

Latest figures from the FA show that Torquay spent only £8,283 on agents’ fees from Feb 2019-Jan 2020, as Johnson retained most of the squad which had won the National League South in 2018-2019.

It was a fraction of the amount laid out by several of their NL rivals, placing them 14th in the division.

The biggest spenders by some way were Notts County (£69,028), who rebuilt their entire squad after relegation from League Two and a takeover.

Next up were Harrogate Town (£29,417), Hartlepool United (£24,562), Wrexham (£22,080) and Yeovil Town (£19,837).

Barrow, who won the NL, were just ahead of Torquay on £8,458.