Richie Towell, pictured playing for Salford in 2019.
in for Towell

Dundalk and Shamrock Rovers confirm interest in signing Richie Towell

Filippo Giovagnoli, meanwhile, says his raft of international signings will raise the profile of the League of Ireland abroad.

DUNDALK AND SHAMROCK Rovers are set to battle it out for the signature of Richie Towell later this year. 

Towell signed for Dundalk in 2013 after an unhappy spell at Celtic, and scored 55 goals in 129 games to earn a move to Brighton. The midfielder made only six first-team appearances for Brighton, however, and spent two seasons on loan at Rotherham before joining Salford City on a permanent deal in 2019. 

Towell’s contract at Salford expires in the summer, at which point Rovers and Dundalk will be among the clubs vying for his signature. 

“Richie is absolutely one of our targets”, said Dundalk head coach Filippo Giovagnoli at a press event to promote Bank of Ireland’s arrival as associate sponsors of the League of Ireland and Women’s National League, along with the More Than A Club programme.

“I think he is more of a target when his contract ends. I think he wants to finish his contract there, it is going to end in May.”

Speaking at the same press event, Shamrock Rovers manager Stephen Bradley also confirmed interest in Towell. 

“I really like him, I always have. And if he becomes available, we would definitely be interested as he fits what we do. But a lot has been made of nothing at the moment, he’s a Salford player and will be until the summer.”

filippo-giovagnoli Tommy Dickson / INPHO File photo of Filippo Giovagnoli. Tommy Dickson / INPHO / INPHO

Giovagnoli, meanwhile, confirmed Dundalk are looking to recruit another two or three players before the season begins in five weeks time. One potential signing is being held up by red tape, with a deal for South Korean winger Han Eui-Gwon yet to be completed as the player seeks a work permit. 

“Han is a super talented player. To have Han in this league would be just amazing, he could be a star in the league. This could also make the League of Ireland known even in Korea and in Asia. That would be amazing, in my opinion. I hope they can sort it out as he’s a top player.”

There has been a considerable churn of players at Dundalk in the off-season, with Sean Hoare and Sean Gannon leaving for Shamrock Rovers, Dane Massey moving to Drogheda and goalkeeper Gary Rogers retiring. 

All of the club’s recruitment thus far has come from overseas. Albanian goalkeeper Alessio Abibi has arrived from Italy, defender Raivis Jurkovskis has been signed from Italy, midfielder Sam Stanton from the United States, while Ole Erik Midtskogen and Sonni Nattestad have both come from the Faroe Islands. 

“We look to other markets, and north Europe and Eastern Europe are really good markets in my opinion. Players are strong, young, already have international experience with their national team, and look at the League of Ireland as an opportunity to progress and maybe make it to the next level. 

“This is our vision, recruit players who want to be better and develop, but at the same time are here to be competitive and win trophies.” 

Giovagnoli says this reflects the new “international” outlook of Dundalk, and says the signings can raise the profile of the club and the League of Ireland across the world, citing the increased Italian interest in Dundalk following his surprise appointment last year. 

“There’s a lot of interest in the media, on television, everywhere. Before, nobody knew Dundalk in Italy. Now, I can tell you, it is very known. And this is going to happen in Norway, Faroe Islands, Latvia, Albania, United States, and I hope it will happen in Korea. 

“This is going to happen for sure, and this is the vision of the club.” 

Giovagnoli also confirmed the club will renew its focus on its academy this year.

“Absolutely. A massive objective is the academy, this is also my background so I’m delighted to help to do that. I’ll be very connected with the academy and we will consistently invite players to train with the first team.”

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