Derry City boss Ruaidhri Higgins says new Bolton Wanderers defender Eoin Toal had ambitions 'for a few years' to play in England but believes the Candystripes got a 'fair enough deal' for the player.
The 23-year-old centre half became Bolton's fourth signing of the summer transfer window. He joins Jack Iredale as a permanent acquisition made this summer, along with Manchester City and Liverpool loanees James Trafford and Conor Bradley.
Toal has put pen to paper on a three-year-deal at the University of Bolton Stadium and joins for an undisclosed fee. After a first bid was turned down by the Candystripes, Wanderers were successful with a second approach for the former Northern Ireland under-21 international.
Toal has made more than 150 appearances for Derry and scored six goals, with his contract at the Candystripes expiring later this year. This season, he has turned out 20 times in the League of Ireland Premier Division and scored once.
His contract at Derry was poised to run out at the end of November. The League of Ireland side thus were able to obtain a transfer fee for Toal, rather than see him leave on a free later this year.
Higgins has spoken on the nature of players departing the League of Ireland to play in pastures new. He believes the key to teams getting good value for their players lies in tying them down to long-term deals.
Discussing Toal, Higgins feels Derry got a 'fair enough' deal for Toal given that his contract at the club was due to run out in the coming months. He says that Toal had ambitions to play in England for 'a few years' before making the move to Bolton.
Speaking to the Derry Journal, Higgins said: “You have to respect that each individual is different. Some players might have huge ambitions to go and try something different.
“I’m just using Eoin Toal as an example. He had ambitions for a few years now about trying to make a move across the water. I wasn’t involved in the contract that he signed but given the fact that he only had a few months left on his contract the club got a fair enough deal.
“You can’t physically make a player sign, it’s about trying to convince them it’s the right place for them but every player has different ambitions.
“Will Patching for example is extremely happy here and was happy to sign here. Don’t get me wrong, Eoin was happy here also but he had different ambitions. Will Patching has tasted England, Eoin hasn’t, so everyone is different.”
“The way I look at it is that our key players - I suppose market value if you want to call it that - it’s trying to spot their talent early and get them on long term deals and not to let them get into the last 18 months or year of their contract. That’s what we have been trying to do.
“It protects the club more. Every club is different in how they go about their business but if you want decent transfer fees then first of all you need players on longer term deals and don’t allow them to get into the latter stages of their contract.”
Toal is yet to make his Wanderers debut following his move from Derry. He has had a minor ankle injury, but was expected to join back in training this week with the rest of the squad.
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