Coleman gets new £5m deal at Everton
IT is a measure of Seamus Coleman's progress that Everton are now willing to pay him more in the space of a month than they were willing to pay Sligo Rovers for his services back in 2009.
The Donegal man has put pen to paper on a new four-and-a-half-year deal that will make him a millionaire, the third contract he has signed in his relatively short spell at Goodison Park.
Certainly, Everton have got serious value for money from their £60,000 purchase, a figure which various outlets have described as "paltry" over the last couple of weeks; a dig in the ribs, perhaps, for Sligo Rovers fans who are proud at their product's rise and rise yet are entitled to wonder if they were short-changed.
They will receive some comfort when Coleman makes his competitive debut for Ireland -- that will be worth another €25,000 to the Bit O'Red.
English clubs will never break the bank to sign players from Ireland, because they are generally aware that they are dealing in a buyer's market.
Much as it seems unfair, the pertinent reality is that few Irish clubs are in a position to turn down an offer that the buyer would probably be prepared to multiply 10 times over if they were pursuing a similar target in Scandinavia.
So, all League of Ireland people can do is make a compelling case to aspiring youngsters in their region that starting your career on Irish soil is no impediment to dreams of a lucrative and successful career.
Coleman is well on that path, with his new deal believed to be similar to the £25,000-a-week that Everton offered to promising local product Jack Rodwell last summer. That would equate to more than £1.25m a year.
After his astonishing loan stint at Blackpool, which was instrumental to their promotion, the Goodison Park authorities rewarded Coleman with an increased deal. Offering another one nine months later is a reflection of how the Killybegs native has adapted to life as a Premier League regular.
"My aim was to keep impressing after every contract and this new one proves that I've been doing well," Coleman said yesterday. "I just want to keep going now.
"When I came over first, it was a two-year contract, and I treated it as a trial. I got a new one while I was at Blackpool, and to get another one so quickly was a surprise because that's three in a short space of time.
"When I go out on the pitch I get my head down and I have a go. Even if it's not going well for me on the ball, I'll keep running around and giving it 100pc and the fans appreciate that."
Next Monday, Giovanni Trapattoni names his squad for the February 8 meeting with Wales and he will be put under pressure to confirm that Coleman will be awarded a first international cap. His family travelled en masse expecting their hero to figure in November's friendly loss to Norway, and went home disappointed.
Surely, he will figure against the Welsh, although it will be interesting to see if Trapattoni continues to view Coleman as a right-back, the 22-year-old's initial role but a position he has yet to play a full 90 minutes in at Premier League level. He continues to surprise, though, and it's easy to draw parallels between his ascension and others who only came to the fore when their school days were finished. Nottingham Forest took on Roy Keane from Cobh Ramblers for £10,000 and eventually sold him on to Manchester United for £3.75m.
Reading signed Kevin Doyle for £80,000 and duly received £6.5m from Wolves for his services -- they didn't even have to pay Cork City the 10pc sell-on clause because the beleaguered Leesiders accepted a £200,000 settlement a year before the sale in a desperate bid to bring in cash, a story which might explain why the club eventually went bust to be replaced by a new entity.
Like Doyle, Coleman is regarded for his willingness to learn and down-to-earth attitude that comes with having spent his upbringing at home instead of being catapulted into a head-spinning world in his mid-teens.
The same could be said for David Meyler, Shane Long and Stephen Ward, three other League of Ireland graduates who look equipped for a lengthy career in the English professional game.
Keith Fahey has made the most of his second chance, while Noel Hunt, Daryl Murphy and Brian Murphy are others to have seized their opportunity in a decade where English and Scottish clubs have made worthwhile shopping trips across the Irish Sea. It could well be, however, that the softly spoken kid from Donegal, who marked his Sligo Rovers debut with an embarrassing own goal, could go on to outshine them all.