Wednesday 20 February 2019

Rovers in clover with cash from Burke deal

Graham Burke. Photo: Tom Beary/Sportsfile
Graham Burke. Photo: Tom Beary/Sportsfile

Shamrock Rovers have sent out a message, with the sale of Graham Burke, that Irish clubs can demand higher transfer fees from foreign clubs, Hoops boss Stephen Bradley says.

Burke has ended his stay with Rovers, signing off with a goal in last week's 2-0 defeat of Limerick, and after a short holiday the Ireland cap will report for pre-season training with Preston.

Rovers are believed to have pocketed €350,000 up front from Preston, potentially rising to €500,000 with bonuses. Some of that revenue will be made available to Bradley to beef up his squad, one signing already confirmed as keeper Alan Mannus has agreed to rejoin the club.

Rovers would be interested in former Dundalk man Patrick McEleney if, as expected, he leaves Oldham in the fallout from their relegation to League Two, and Bradley is also an admirer of Dylan Watts, currently on loan to Bohemians from Leicester City but a free agent from July 1.

Cork City received just €125,000 for the sale of Seán Maguire to Preston 12 months ago so Rovers will be pleased to have, in a sense, more than doubled their money.

"We could have held onto Graham until the end of the season, we didn't have to sell. Sometimes the deal is just right for everyone and you do it.

"We were in no rush or panic to sell him, the deal was just right for everyone," said Bradley, speaking at the club's training complex at Roadstone where new grass pitches, an addition to the astro surfaces already in place, were unveiled yesterday.


"It could be worth more money in the long term. We believe it's a very good deal for us and for everybody involved, otherwise Graham would still be here.

"We talk about fees, demanding fees for players in this country, we need to start creating a market. Cork have done it a little bit, Derry have done it over the years, Limerick have done it and we have done it.

"Letting players go for nothing? We are killing ourselves. Teams over the last few years have tried to change that and that's something we need to build on.

"With the likes of Graham, we can demand proper fees. I'm not just talking about us, I'm talking about every club in the country.

"I believe every club and every manager in the league has a responsibility to do that. Letting top players walk out of the country for nothing is not helping us in any way."

Bradley is keen to sign at least two more players as well as Mannus, but a deal for McEleney could be too costly.

"All we can do is throw our hat in the ring and see what happens.

"We have done that and we have made our interest clear, but it's up to Patrick at the end of the day," he says, also keen on Watts.

"I've always liked him, from UCD. But I know again that there is a lot of interest in him. He has been good this year for a struggling team. I know there is a lot of interest and he will have his options."

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