‘Journal Sport’ understands the 25-year-old has informed his former club that he won’t be returning this Christmas and is likely to take up an offer from England or Scotland.
Kelly, who finished top scorer in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division last season having netted 21 times during a superb campaign with Bohemians, has been linked with a host of clubs including Dundee, Ross County, Rotherham, Bradford City and Portsmouth and one man who believes Kelly can make it at a higher level is his former underage coach, John Quigg.
The ex-Institute boss coached the Tooban native for three years in the Derry City Youth set-up from 2013 and believes Kelly can go right to the top and force his way into Stephen Kenny’s Ireland squad.
“We had an incredible strike force with Georgie and Ronan Curtis, ” insisted Quigg.
“That team, I think eight or nine of them went on to play senior football. We had the likes of Ciaron Harkin, Patrick McClean, Rory Holden, Conor McDermott, Ben Doherty and Josh Daniels in that team but the front two were quality.
“Georgie was always good at school as well and that was the road he went down. I think Stephen Kenny tried to bring him into the first team panel around that time but Georgie told him he was going to UCD on a scholarship. He’s a bright lad and was always going down the education road. Ronan went the other way and got himself into Kenny Shiels’ first team before getting his move to England and the rest is history.
“To be honest the two of them were on a par, you couldn’t have split the two of them. They were two fantastic young players and I had no doubt that Georgie Kelly could play at the top level of Irish football. Having worked with both Ronan and him, I have no doubt that Georgie could cut it where Ronan is at the minute and Ronan is an international footballer,
“Georgie Kelly could play international football and while I would have loved him to come back to Derry City, with Mickey (Duffy), Fats (Patrick McEleney) and all the boys, I feel if he has aspirations to play for his country then he needs to play in either England, Scotland or further afield.”
Quigg isn’t surprised the talented striker, who only recently won the PFAI Player of the Year prize, is being mooted for a move across the water.
“He was the leading goalscorer in the League of Ireland and he’s just won the PFAI Player of the Year, that tells you what his fellow players think of him,” added Quigg.
“Some of the goals he scored this year has been fantastic. In fact he scored a goal in injury time against Derry and I have never seen anything like it. At a younger age I saw that he had all the attributes to be a top player but he has been absolutely fantastic over the last few years.”