DERRY City target, Marc Griffin, appeared at the Brandywell last weekend but the Dundalk striker was not present to put pen to paper!
ARTHUR DUFFY reports
The 21-years-old striker is clearly anxious to follow the path of his former Oriel Park team-mate, Michael Rafter, to the Brandywell but with the clubs far apart in relation to the payment of compensation, a move appears unlikely at the moment.
“Marc accompanied Michael Rafter to the Brandywell last weekend as we started our annual fitness testing of the players, but as far as I know he was due to travel over to England for a trial with a lower league club on Monday,” confirmed Devine.
“I had hoped to sign him as I’m certainly on the look-out for a new striker, but despite negotiations with Dundalk they are insisting that we pay what we would consider to be an inflated compensation fee which applies to all players under the age of 23.”
It’s understood that initially Dundalk had sought a fee of £20,000 and reduced that to £15,000 while Derry were prepared to pay £5,000.
Since then the “Candy Stripes” offered a deal tied with first team appearances but the “Lilywhites” rejected that compromise and Derry subsequently lost interest.
The Paul Cook managed Chesterfield and Welsh club, Newport County, are also understood to be interested in having the Dundalk man over on trial.
“Marc is out of contract and he’s anxious to get his future sorted. But we’re not prepared to go to a tribunal.
“I don’t think he intends to return to Dundalk for the new season, but we’ve opted to take a step back and see what develops but we’re still looking to sign new players,” continued Devine.
“I’m not panicking and I’m certainly not in a rush to sign new players and I’m prepared to wait until the last minute if need be, just as long as they are the right players for us.
“I’ve identified and already spoken to seven or eight possible targets. Two or three of those have agreed to travel over to England for trials. Hopefully, it won’t work out for them and they will come back seeking a contract at the Brandywell,” smiled the Derry boss.
“I definitely want to sign a new striker; obviously I’m also in the market for a left-sided midfield player and I believe we also require a defender.
“In short, I’d like to strengthen in all areas and I think it’s always good to freshen up the squad. But we do have versatility and we will have competition for players come the new season. As I’ve already said, a panel of 17 have been signed, but I’m hopeful of operating with a first team squad of 21.”
Sligo Keen on Davy?
Commenting on the future of last year’s joint leading scorer, Davy McDaid, Devine confirmed that he had offered the striker improved terms plus a two year contract at the Brandywell, but the player appears to reluctant to accept the deal.
“We’ve offered Davy a two year deal as I’m very keen to keep him at the Brandywell now that the Fleetwood Town move does not appear to be working out for him,” declared Devine.
“He had an excellent season with us last year. He’s a local player who ticks all the boxes and a player I hold in high regard.
“I showed a lot of faith in him when I took over as manager at the club and Davy repaid that faith with 17 goals last season. I also hold the view that he could step up again.
“As a free agent, he’s weighing up his options and I’m aware that he’s been talking to Sligo Rovers. They are last season’s champions, they are a big club with a large wage structure and he’s already spent time at the Showgrounds on loan.
“But I have to be honest and state that I would be very disappointed to see him play for Sligo. However, that’s not my decision, that’s for Davy and his family to decide.
“It’s no secret that I would love to see him in a Derry City jersey next season but, at the same time, I would also be the first to shake his hand should he decide to sign for Sligo or another club,” he concluded.