Dundalk head coach Filippo Giovagnoli is prioritising midfield additions to his squad ahead of the new campaign with Jordan Flores looking set to sign for League One side Hull City.
The Puskas nominated midfielder had not been accepting calls from either chairman Bill Hulsizer or Giovagnoli over Christmas with reports from England on Monday morning suggesting that the 25-year-old had passed a medical at the KCOM Stadium.
Giovagnoli had told The Argus on Sunday that he would still be open to talking to Flores should he wish to walk but that prospect looked distinctly unlikely as a move to Grant McCann’s side looked imminent at the time of going to print.
“We tried to contact him but I don’t know what he wants to do,” the Italian said when asked about the Wigan native’s future on Sunday.
“Jordan had a really good end to the season so maybe he is taking time to reflect and look around him to see if he has other opportunities. We don’t know.
“I had a conversation with him almost at the end of the season and he asked me to stay but there has been nothing further.
“I think, for the Jordan Flores that finished the season, our doors can still be open but let’s see what happens. It’s up to him right now.”
Regardless of whether Flores stays or goes, at least one more midfielder remains a top priority for the FAI Cup winners.
While a move for Bastien Hery was never a runner and speculation linking Richie Towell with a return to Oriel Park a long shot for now at least, another former Hibernian player is on the radar. The Argus understands that the club are currently running the rule over former Scottish U-21 midfielder Sam Stanton, who was most recently on the books of Phoenix Rising FC in American where he won the Western Conference last year and reached the USL Championship Final, which was cancelled due to Covid-19.
Asked about the possibility of another central midfielder, Giovagnoli said: “Oh yeah, we’re looking for a top player there.
“I’m scouting a lot of players and Jim is doing the same. We are always in communication and we are looking to add a top midfield player like we have in other positions.
“To be honest, until now we’ve only signed top players with big profiles. Of course they have to stay within the budget but we’re going to pick up another strong player in that position for sure,” he said.
Dundalk have also been linked with wingers Gabriele Cappani and Han Eui-Kwon. While a deal for the Italian is unlikely, Giovagnoli is hoping of securing a dealer the 26-year-old South Korean who was released by Suwon Samsung Bluewings last week.
“Gabriele Cappani is a kid who we had in our youth environment. Then he grew up and went to AC Milan. We know him really well and (assistant) Giuseppe (Rossi) used to train him personally.
“Of course, he is a huge talent but I don’t think it is going to happen because he is under contract at AC Milan. At the moment he is on loan at a third division team in Italy but I don’t think we can do it now. It would be an amazing though because he is an amazing talent.
“The other one, the Korean, I don’t think there’s anything official as yet but I think we’re close to him.
“He’s another super important player. It was Jim who found him and if he’s coming then of course our team profile will change completely. We’ll have a lot of international players and with a player like Han it can add a lot of quality and a lot of pace. It’s an exciting one but let’s see if we can do it,” he said.
Giovagnoli said he would be looking to operate with a squad of roughly 23 for the coming season. At present there are 19 players on the books for 2021 but doubts surround whether Stefan Colovic or Will Patching will remain.
The coach said: “The optimum situation would be to have two players for every position more or less or have players who are adaptable to playing in a couple of positions.
“At the end of the day if you have three goalkeepers and 20 outfield players then I think you’re okay. Then we’re also going to have young players who will be with us from our academy but I think that would be a good number to manage, more or less.”