Friday 24 January 2020

Swansea bid for Irish wonder boy could be scuppered by Liverpool interest

In demand: Cliftonville striker Rory Donnelly is being pursued by three Premier League clubs
In demand: Cliftonville striker Rory Donnelly is being pursued by three Premier League clubs

MANAGER Brendan Rodgers remains hopeful that Swansea City can wrap up the signing of Irish wonder boy Rory Donnelly, despite Liverpool's interest in the striker.

Donnelly, a 19-year-old striker playing for Belfast-based Cliftonville, is expected to move to the Premier League next month and was thought to be heading to Swansea City in a £100,000 deal.

Swansea agreed a fee for the player last week and Donnelly has travelled to South Wales to discuss terms over a move to the Liberty Stadium but Cliftonville’s chairman, Gerard Lawlor, received a direct approach from Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish over the weekend.

“It’s not every day you get Kenny Dalglish ringing you,” said Lawlor. “He made it clear that Liverpool want to sign him and that they would be back in touch.”

Everton manager David Moyes is also interested in the forward, and would like to repeat the success of the last Irish player he signed, Seamus Coleman, from Sligo Rovers in 2009.

Rodgers is aware of other clubs' interest but he is optimistic that Donnelly will choose a Premier League football team club that can offer him a chance of regular football.

"I know what's on offer at this club," said Rodgers in the South Wales Evening Post, "and if Rory is clever enough, he will look at our squad and see that there are two young, homegrown players who have come through and are playing in the Premier League.

"He will also see that there are lots of other young players at this club as well as some top senior professionals who can help the younger players through.

"He will see a wonderful city which will be very much like home for him, and a club with a manager and a group of people who can really aid his career.

"If he doesn't see it that way then good luck to him in whatever he does and we will move on. He will be here for a couple of days and hopefully we can tie things up and get this sorted.

"I can only ever sell the package that we have here, and that is a great package for a youth player or a senior player.

"Knowing Rory's background and the start he has had, I know this would be a brilliant place for him and I am sure in the next couple of days he will recognise that.

"There's no doubt there's a lot of interest in him, but I am quite relaxed about the situation."

Cliftonville released a statement saying they want the youngster’s future to be resolved swiftly.

“Cliftonville this week announced the acceptance of a transfer offer from Swansea City FC for striker Rory Donnelly,” the club said.

“The club are also aware of interest in the player from a number of other sources and have responded to a series of tentative enquiries in recent weeks.

"We are, however, keen to bring the issue to a conclusion as soon as possible.”

Donnelly has represented Northern Ireland at Under 21 level

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