Dundalk are hopeful of adding two further signings to their squad this week ahead of the new campaign which gets underway next month.
To date head coach Filippo Giovagnoli has brought in goalkeeper Alessio Abibi, defenders Sonni Nattestad and Raivis Jurkovskis, midfielder Sam Stanton and forward Ole Erik Midtskogen to add to his ranks over the off season but the Italian is confident of adding at least a couple more before the transfer deadline next Monday February 22nd.
The Argus understands that a winger and goalkeeper are amongst the main targets with interest renewed in former Derry City and Sligo Rovers star Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe.
The 26-year-old was top scorer in the league in 2019 and has had a good record against the Lilywhites in his season-and-a-half in the SSE Airtricity League having scored three times against his potential new employers, including the third goal in Sligo’s 3-1 win over Dundalk at The Showgrounds last summer.
It is also believed that the club are hopeful of securing a goalkeeper on a loan from a Championship club in England with 23-year-old Barnsley goalkeeper Corey Addai, who stands at a massive 6ft 7in in height, the prime target. Meanwhile a contract could also be given to 2014 title winner Peter Cherrie, who has been training with the club following his release by Derry City at the end of last season.
While free agents can be signed after next Monday’s deadline, anyone in contract with a club needs to have their move completed before then.
While he refused to be drawn on the players or their positions, Giovagnoli confirmed to The Argus on Sunday evening that he was hopeful of new arrivals to Oriel Park this week.
“We are looking to have a couple of signings this week. We’re working on it. It could be in one day or two days. We’re going to have news but not yet.
“We need to complete the team. We are close to completing the team. It’s not over yet but we want to make the right decisions.”
Aside from the potential new arrivals, Dundalk remain hopeful of securing a work permit to sign South Korean winger Han Eui-gwon.
The 26-year-old was one game shy of the 25% quota of games he was required to play in for former club Suwon Samsung Bluewings last season but as the K League season was curtailed due to Covid-19, Dundalk are arguing that the “most recent full season” – in which he played 76% of his club’s matches – should apply.
Giovagnoli said he did not have an update on how that deal was proceeding but remained hopeful of securing the services of the winger.
“I really don’t know because it’s the club that is dealing with this so it’s more a question for Jim (Magilton) and Bill (Hulsizer) because they are dealing with this,” said Filippo.
“I just feel that it’s a shame that a player like that could miss out on a move here. It would be great to have him in the league. It would be good for Dundalk but it would also be good for the league.
“I think the rules should be interpreted to deal with these moments because maybe he would have completed his 25% if they had played all year. The only reason he didn’t play was because he didn’t sign a contract because he was in a little bit of a fight with the club to leave but it is what it is.
“There are rules but rules should be interpreted well in this case because of Covid but let’s see. Maybe it’s going to end well but, if not, we have to look to something else.”
One player who departed Oriel Park last week is young winger Jamie Wynne. The club had been hopeful of retaining the 19-year-old, who made his league and European debut under Giovagnoli last season, but he has instead signed for Cork City.
Asked about the Malahide youngster, Giovagnoli said: “He was in pre-season with us and we said to him let’s see how it goes and we’ll talk about your future. I wanted to see him in pre-season with the team because of course Dundalk is a strong team. It’s one of the strongest in the league so finding space is not easy but then he decided with his agent to leave.
“I respect that if he feels it is the right opportunity but I just hope he is going to play. I wish the best for him because he is a really nice kid and a really hard worker.”
Meanwhile, another Dundalk youngster – Meathman Andrew Quinn – is also set to depart Oriel Park on loan with a move to Bray Wanderers expected to ensure the defender receives some vital experience this season. Will Patching will also join Derry City on loan.