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Bazunu's off to City

Pep's side fend off rivals in €465k deal for Rovers keeper

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Gavin Bazunu in action for Shamrock Rovers this season

Gavin Bazunu in action for Shamrock Rovers this season

Gavin Bazunu in action for Shamrock Rovers this season

Gavin Bazunu will begin life as a Manchester City player next summer - after he's completed his Leaving Cert - following the successful bid by Pep Guardiola's club to secure his signature.

City beat off competition from Chelsea and Tottenham to finally land Bazunu, in a deal which is close to a record for a League of Ireland player moving abroad.

The 16-year-old will stay with Shamrock Rovers for the rest of this season and the first half of next term and then move to Manchester.

The reported fee for the deal is £420,000 (€465,000), just below the €500,000 which Sunderland paid Cork City for Roy O'Donovan in 2007.

Bazunu, who is from Tallaght and has come up through the ranks at Rovers, broke into the first team earlier this season, making his league debut in a 1-0 win away to Waterford.

Honour

He kept four clean sheets in his four league appearances, and also played in the Europa League ties against AIK Solna. That form earned him the honour of player of the month for July from the SSE Airtricity Soccer Writers Association, the youngest-ever winner of the award.

Bazunu was strongly linked with a move to the Etihad Stadium over the summer but Chelsea and Tottenham remained very much in the race to sign the in-demand keeper, but yesterday City managed to seal a deal which will see Bazunu start life in Manchester next summer.

As he is signed as a professional with Rovers, Bazunu cannot move abroad until he is 17, next February, so he will spend the period in between at Rovers.

Best

Northern Ireland international Alan Mannus is in the Rovers side ahead of Bazunu at the moment, the teen sidelined for a spell due to injury, but the veteran sees a big future for Bazunu.

"I think he is the best keeper I have seen at that age. Under the age of 18 or 19 he is one of the best goalkeepers I've seen," said the experienced Mannus. "I have a good idea what clubs in England and Scotland look for in terms of younger goalkeepers and I think he has everything they look for.

"I think he has a good career ahead of him. It's one thing to do well in training, but a lot of the time you see goalkeepers do well in training but when it comes to games they aren't able to transfer that to games.

"I think he does everything very well. I like his style. He is very calm and relaxed. I can't say enough good things about him."


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