Derry City manager Kenny Shiels admits inflated wages and transfer fees in Ireland are forcing him to look at the European market in a bid to bolster his squad.
Shiels, who signed Spanish centre-back Cristian Castells on a short term deal over the weekend, feels that players he is interested in from the Airtricity and Irish Leagues are costing too much.
There’s 16 players from the Irish League, who I have in my note-book, and I would sign but each and every one of them are too expensive.Kenny Shiels
Only a few months ago in the January Transfer Window, Shiels was left frustrated in his attempts to sign Daniel Kearns with Glenavon able to offer the talented winger more to retain his services until the end of the 2016 Irish League season, a fact that has forced Shiels to look further afield for his players.
This season he has already added the likes of Danish defender Niclas Vemmelund and Austrian winger Lukas Schubert, while Castells, who is likely to feature in this Friday night’s FAI Cup tie squad at Bohemians, hails from Valencia.
“We have just signed Cristian and I have to emphasise that we have to go to the Continent to get cheaper players because the Irish League players are too expensive,” explained Shiels.
“There are 16 players from the Irish League, who I have in my notebook and I would sign but each and every one of them are too expensive. So we have to go Europe because there are players there who I can get for half - and I mean half - the price of what the salary they receive in the Irish League. That’s where I have to go and utilise my contacts over there.”
It wasn’t long ago that English Premier League managers such as Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger, Jose Mourinho and former Limerick boss Sam Allardyce were all complaining that English clubs were asking for too much, meaning they had to go to Europe to find their new talents. Unfortunately Shiels feels that is now starting to filter into the League of Ireland and Irish League.
“The Irish League is a part-time league and it amazes me but that clubs can give double the wages that we can afford. You have to say that it’s good management by the clubs,” he added.
“I don’t know where they get the money from but it’s incredible how they do that. We are a full-time club and we can’t get half-way to that. It’s not a complaint, it’s just a fact.”
The ex-Coleraine boss also concedes that he would have preferred to continue his policy of bringing youth team players into the first team squad rather than dip back into the foreign market.
Shiels has given the likes of Conor McDermott, Rory Holden, Ryan Doherty and Ben Doherty their debuts this season and it is a trend he is keen to continue.
“I’m angry with myself that I can’t get local boys in to see us through in this quest to do well for the rest of the season,” he added. “I have to go out foreign and that’s the disappointment for me personally.”
As for his new signing Castells, he’s a 31-year-old centre-back, who Shiels is hoping, can settle in quickly.
“Cristian is an aggressive big lad. He’s technically good, reads the game well and hecan build the play up which is what we need. I hope the fans warm to him,” he concluded.