Cardiff pounce to land Ireland hopeful Doyle in £850,000 deal
Eoin Doyle's status as the highest scorer in English football this season earned the Dubliner a £850,000 move to Cardiff City last night.
And so a month of speculation, which started with rumours linking Doyle to Sheffield United and Preston North End, ended with him arriving in the Welsh capital last night to pen a three-year-deal.
At 26, Doyle is the classic late bloomer. A decent career in the League of Ireland saw him score 38 goals in 116 appearances for Sligo Rovers, and win two FAI Cup medals and the League Cup.
Hibernian called. His return of 14 goals from 57 appearances in Scotland hardly suggested he would become a man in demand. But this month he has been. Aside from Sheffield United and Preston, Millwall and New York City, showed an interest.
Cardiff, however, showed a willingness to spend, forking out £450,000 up front, with a further £400,000 to come next year, with top-up payments pencilled into the contract which will see the deal exceed £1m if Doyle becomes a full international and the Bluebirds secure promotion to the Premier League.
"We are keeping a close eye on Eoin," said Ireland manager Martin O'Neill on Sunday. "We are not in a position where we can afford to overlook anyone."
Doyle is the highest scorer in English league football this season, with 25 goals from 33 appearances.
"He has come on leaps and bounds," said Chesterfield boss Paul Cook. "He always had talent but his confidence has rocketed."
Self-belief was also a key factor in Michael Duffy moving from Derry City to Celtic yesterday for a deal worth £150,000 up front but which could rise to £250,000, based on appearances.
The 20-year-old winger spent two weeks on trial with the Hoops before the trail went cold.
"We thought it was dead in the water, then Celtic contacted at us to say they wanted to sign him," said Derry chairman Sean Barrett.
And so a frantic game of chase began with Duffy completing his medical at 6.30 last night before he signed his four-and-a-half-year-deal, the third player to move from Derry to Celtic in the last seven years, after Paddy McCourt and Niall McGinn.
Jack Grealish was rumoured to be on his way on loan to Nottingham Forest from Aston Villa, but that move died a death once Stuart Pearce lost his job.
Everton's James McCarthy had been the subject of interest from Arsenal, who have scouted him regularly this season, but no bid was formally tabled.
Nor did one arrive for Darron Gibson, even though he is clearly surplus to requirements at Everton.