Tag Archive: Transfer News

Manchester United have today confirmed that forward Michael Owen will be released after reaching the end of his contract with the Red Devils. The news comes as United boss Sir Alex Ferguson aims to improve his squad in a bid to regain the Premier League title from neighbours Manchester City.

Owen had spent 3 years at Old Trafford, moving to the club from Newcastle in July 2009. Never a regular in a side that also contained attacking talent such as Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Dimitar Berbatov, Owen racked up 31 league appearances in his stay, netting 5 times. His first-team prospects were not helped by a number of injuries, including a thigh injury sustained in November that kept him out of the majority of United’s 2011-12 fixtures.

G-Owen nowhere: Michael found first-team opportunities limited at United

Confirmation from the club of Michael’s release had been expected as far back as 17 May, when Owen had posted a message on his Twitter account revealing “The manager informed me after our testimonial match on Tuesday that the club would not be offering me a new contract… I have loved every minute of the 3 years I have spent at such a fantastic club.”

Still only 32, the ex-England international – who is his country’s fourth-top all-time goalscorer – still has a couple of years left in his playing career, and could provide valuable experience and Premier League know-how for a newly-promoted top-flight side, or an ambitious Championship club. Indeed, the former Real Madrid striker has ruled out retirement, with reports suggesting mid-table Premier League side Stoke City are interested in signing him.

Although a move to the United Arab Emirates – where fellow superstars in the twilight of their careers such as Fabio Cannavaro and David Trezeguet have headed in recent years – had been rumoured, UAE club Al Shabab emphatically rejected speculation of an approach for Owen by claiming the forward is “on the downhill” last month. Another option could be a transfer to America’s Major Soccer League, where Owen’s former England and Real Madrid team-mate David Beckham is currently plying his trade, but Michael is likely to prefer a move to another Premier League club.

Manchester United have also released Polish goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak, who will join second division Brighton after 5 years at Old Trafford, while young custodians Liam Jacob and Joe Coll have both been let go.

Travelling in the opposite direction through Old Trafford’s revolving door are new signings Shinji Kagawa, a £13 million capture from Borussia Dortmund, and promising Crewe teenager Nick Powell, who will both be part of United’s pre-season tour of South Africa and China.

Image: http://manchesterunited-fansclub.blogspot.co.uk


Bobby to Boro

Torquay United suffered a big blow on Monday as their record clean-sheet keeper Bobby Olejnik departed to Championship side Peterborough United for a fee believed to be in the region of £300,000.

As reported here, Peterborough had publicly registered their interest in the former Falkirk shot-stopper last week, with manager Darren Ferguson citing his need to secure a high-quality goalkeeper early in the transfer window – the club’s only other custodian, 21-year-old Joe Day, is considered too inexperienced to be first-choice.

Indeed, Day and Olejnik have not featured in a single Championship match between them, causing Peterborough fans to suspect Ferguson will be looking to make a further addition to his last line of defence before the transfer window slams shut – although whether Olejnik would be still be first-choice goalkeeper in this situation remains unclear.

Olejnik had a lot to shout about during his only season at Plainmoor

Despite being clearly saddened by the loss of the talented 25-year-old, Torquay United and their supporters will clearly be rooting for the Austrian in his new role, with manager Martin Ling saying “I would also like to wish Bobby great luck for the future. He has been the ultimate professional and someone we had to drag off the training ground…he has worked immensely hard”. Olejnik had played a large part in Torquay’s run to the play-offs in 2011-12, keeping an incredible 20 clean sheets as the Gulls defied their odds to challenge for automatic promotion for much of the season.

Olejnik’s departure also puts pressure on Ling to find an equally good replacement before the start of the 2012-13 season, with names from ex-United goalkeeper Michael Poke to former 53-cap England international David James being bandied around as possible signings  on fan forums. One possibility is to hand Martin Rice – signed from Truro City as back-up for Olejnik last season – the number one shirt, although the man himself admits he’d have a tough act to follow: Rice has described the former Austria under-21 international as the “best I’ve worked with”, adding “he’s been outstanding all season”.

However, the fee received, believed to be in the region of £300,000, opens up possibilities for further signings to be made to strengthen the squad in more areas. Some fans are also hoping that this sale will allow the club to be in a position where they are financially able to turn down large offers for playmaker Eunan O’Kane, believed to be the subject of a £150,000 bid from League One new boys Crawley Town.

Admitting that the Olejnik deal represented “a terrific piece of business for the Gulls”, a Torquay club statement on Monday said “United have also inserted a sell-on clause to ensure a share of the profits, should Bobby leave [Peterborough] in the future.” Ling concurs: “It is a great deal for our club and for Bobby, and my job as a manager is to buy low, sell for a profit and then fetch in low again. That is the nature of the beast in League 2 and this has been a great bit of business.”

Olejnik’s departure will boost Martin Rice’s chances of first-team football next season

Having signed Olejnik for free from Scottish outfit Falkirk in July 2011, any fee received for the former Aston Villa youth-teamer would have represented a profit for the Gulls, although Ling also suggested the deal had been allowed for other reasons as well as the financial side, saying “My hat goes off to Bobby and there is no way we could stand in the way of an opportunity for him at a Championship club”, while Peterborough’s latest signing revealed “I couldn’t sleep last night as I was so excited about the move… I left Falkirk a year ago and if anyone had said I would end up playing in the Championship so soon I’d have laughed in their face. It’s a dream move for me and I can’t wait to get started.”

Olejnik looks likely to face former club Villa in one of his first games for his new side: Peterborough are due to play the Premier League outfit in a pre-season clash on 1 August.

The goalkeeper is the fourth player to leave Torquay this summer, following the release of defenders Lathaniel Rowe-Turner and Ed Palmer and forward Taiwo Atieno. The club’s only signings so far are former Everton midfielder Nathan Craig and ex-Norwich striker Ryan Jarvis, both of whom had temporary spells at Plainmoor last season.

Images: Olejnik – http://www.torquayunited.com; Rice – http://www.thisisdevon.co.uk.

Torquay Cut Ties With Taiwo

League Two side Torquay United have today continued their summer clear-out by releasing one player from his contract and making another available for sale.

This week has so far seen defenders Lathaniel Rowe-Turner and Ed Palmer released, winger Lloyd Macklin transfer-listed, and Nathan Craig, Ryan Jarvis and Ashley Yeoman offered new deals to keep them at the club for 2012-13.

Not content with an already busy week, United boss Martin Ling has now added utility player Chris McPhee to the club’s growing transfer-list. McPhee, who can play both in midfield and upfront, first joined the Gulls in 2006 and was re-signed by Ling in June of last year.

McPhee’s devotion to the cause was never doubted, although his ability was (Image: Eunan O’Kane, Twitter)

However, the ex-Kidderminster man has found first-team action at Plainmoor hard to come by in his second spell at the club, prompting Ling to believe that the 29-year-old’s future lies elsewhere. Indeed, the ex-Cambridge chief told Torquay’s website “I feel it would be best for him to move on. For someone at the age of 29, Chris needs to be playing regularly and he is a squad player here… a player of his age would want more than that and I want more than that for him.”

McPhee made 26 league appearances for United this season, scoring twice. Many of his games came early in the season, and the Sussex-born man struggled to hold down a starting role or even a place on the bench during the latter stages of Torquay’s league campaign. Ling concurs: “He wasn’t getting in the squad towards the end of the season… he has gone from a bench-player with a couple of starts to someone out of the squad”.

Much-travelled Atieno faces the prospect of finding a fourth club in just two years (Image: ThisIsSouthDevon)

More controversial is Ling’s decision not to offer Kenyan international Taiwo Atieno an extension to his expiring one-year contract. The former Puerto Rico Islanders frontman scored 7 goals in all competitions and appeared in all bar one league fixtures during his only season at Plainmoor, but as Ling explains, the decision was taken with the club’s small budget in mind: “It came down to a flat choice between Tai and Ryan Jarvis. I feel I’ve had the peak of Tai but not the peak of Ryan Jarvis, and I feel the peak of Jarvis will be better. I only had the money to keep one of the two and that was the big issue”.

“It came down to a choice between Tai and Jarvis… I only had the money to keep one” 

28 of the 26-year-old’s league appearances came from the bench, and Atieno, capped four times for his country, only settled in to the side’s starting XI when first-choice forward Rene Howe was injured. Taiwo’s goals included vital strikes in victories against Bristol Rovers and Swindon, as well as a consolation in the play-off semi-final defeat to Cheltenham Town.

Ling’s shockingly honest approach to releasing players and explaining his decisions could have potentially divided fans, but the former Swindon midfielder seems to have impressed the majority of supporters with his no-nonsense modus operandi Ling has also played down reports that United playmaker Eunan O’Kane is set to leave the club, stating “I want Eunan to be a part of our squad next year and it’s not written in stone that he will leave this football club in the summer… there have been no offers on the table”.

Several Championship and League One clubs, including newly-promoted Swindon Town, are rumoured to be interested in the former Northern Ireland under-21 international.

Ling Lets Lloyd Leave

Following the release of full-back Lathaniel Rowe-Turner and centre-half Ed Palmer yesterday, Torquay United manager Martin Ling has continued to reshape his playing squad with further transfer news today.

Forward Ryan Jarvis, who joined the Gulls on loan from Walsall in March, has been offered a permanent contract for next season after impressing Ling during his short stay in Devon. Jarvis netted a crucial winner against Port Vale, teed up Rene Howe for the only goal against Accrington, and hit the bar in the play-off semi-final loss to Cheltenham. His contribution almost helped Torquay to promotion from League Two, and Ling said “We could have a really good player and he has been offered a one-year contract to prove to me that there is a good player in there”.

Also being offered new deals are midfield linchpin Damon Lathrope and young striker Ashley Yeoman. Lathrope’s expected signature will come as welcome news to United fans, with some fearing the ex-Norwich holding midfielder would be tempted away by a bigger club.

Lloyd Macklin (left) has mainly been limited to reserve-team football this season

Yeoman’s only league appearance in 2011-12 came in the form of a brief, but impressive, cameo in a home defeat to Bradford in February. The local lad has been rewarded with a one-year extension for, according to Ling: “versatility and for being a goalscorer… we watch him in training and feel he will score goals.”

Seemingly held in lower regard is 22-year-old winger Lloyd Macklin, who featured four times in the league this season. The former Swindon midfielder bagged his first goal in professional football in a 2-1 Johnstone’s Paint Trophy loss to Cheltenham in August, before Macklin joined Salisbury on loan in a spell that also saw him score against Sheffield United in the FA Cup. However, Ling rather bluntly stated “He was one of the youngest-ever players to make his debut for Swindon when he was a 16-year-old, and I still feel we have a 16-year-old on our hands. He hasn’t been consistent enough…it’s something he hasn’t really grasped and I’m not prepared to try anymore, and that’s why he’s been listed”.

Although he chose to renew Yeoman’s contract despite the forward only having two league appearances for United at the age of 20, Ling also cited this as a reason for Macklin –  who has actually featured more for the Gulls – being transfer-listed: “To be a sub that only touches the pitch a couple of times is not enough for someone at the age of 22”.

Ling’s blunt approach to releasing players could be seen as unnecessarily harsh, but many Torquay fans seem to prefer the Plainmoor supremo’s modus operandi: one fan went as far as saying “He’s put a backbone where there wasn’t one before. Martin Ling tells it like it is… just straight to the point, no-nonsense honesty.”

Torquay have also offered central defender Mark Ellis a new deal, which is said to have been on the table for months. The 23-year-old has reportedly attracted interest from United’s south-west rivals Plymouth Argyle, the club his family support. The Gulls are waiting for Kenyan forward Taiwo Atieno to return from international duty before deciding whether or not to extend his contract.

Rowe-Turner Released

Left-back Lathaniel Rowe-Turner has become the first victim of Torquay United’s post-season post-mortem as manager Martin Ling aims to reshuffle his pack in his first full summer in charge.

Rowe-Turner, 22, joined the Gulls from hometown club Leicester City in February 2010 and had already enjoyed loan spells at Cheltenham, Redditch United and King’s Lynn. The full-back clocked up 35 appearances in his three seasons at Plainmoor, scoring his only goal for the club in a 3-0 win over Barnet in 2010-11.

Rowe-Turner celebrates his solitary strike in Torquay colours (Image: Torquay United)

The decision to release Rowe-Turner will surprise some United fans given their side’s small playing squad, which many cited as the reason for the club losing out on automatic promotion in a 3-2 loss to Hereford, before being sent crashing out of the play-offs with a 4-1 aggregate loss to Cheltenham Town last week. The Gulls used just 23 players in their 2011-12 league campaign,including three loanees – compared to Swindon’s 39 and Southend’s 32 participants.

Torquay manager Martin Ling justified his decision to let Lathaniel go by saying “The main reason he has been released is the position I see him playing is where we have more cover than where I would like him to play… I need a more defensive left back.”

Although Rowe-Turner will surely feel this is a huge setback in his career – he posted a message on his Twitter account claiming he was “Well [a]nd truly lost for words” – Ling offered hope to the versatile defender: “It’s more to do with the shape of squad than ability of player, so he’s been unlucky but he has certainly shown enough to be an asset for a League Two or Conference club.”

Despite left-back being his natural position, Rowe-Turner has found himself playing as a defence-minded left-midfielder brought on as a late substitute in most of his appearances this season. He can also feature at centre-back, making him a valuable utility player to a lower-league or Conference club.

Nathan Craig has sufficiently impressed to earn a permanent contract (Image: Torquay United

Torquay have also released Rowe-Turner’s fellow young defender Ed Palmer. The centre-back has gained experience with local non-league sides Tiverton Town, Weymouth and Truro, but Ling believes that Palmer can play at “Conference or Conference South level, but [he] hasn’t quite got enough for me at this moment in time.” Despite graduating from Torquay’s youth team two years ago, Palmer had failed to make the breakthrough into the first team and had further slipped down Ling’s defensive roster with the emergence of another youngster, Kirtys MacKenzie.

In the other direction, and on the right side of Plainmoor’s revolving door, comes Welsh midfielder Nathan Craig, signed on a two-year contract. The ex-Everton trainee joins following a successful trial period, despite not making a first-team appearance since beginning his trial in January.

Elsewhere in Devon, newly-relegated Exeter City have released four players, including captain David Noble, a former Arsenal and West Ham midfielder. Other victims of Paul Tisdale’s cull include forward Richard Logan (a Grecian since 2007),  goalkeeper Lenny Pidgeley and midfielder Chris Shepherd.