Davis goes

Ipswich Town manager Joe Royle is ready to deal in the transfer market after the protracted transfer of goalkeeper Kelvin Davis to Sunderland finally went through.

Ipswich Town manager Joe Royle is ready to deal in the transfer market after the protracted transfer of goalkeeper Kelvin Davis to Sunderland finally went through.

Royle now has a kitty of around £1million to help him re-build his squad for the new campaign. He has a number of firm targets identified and will move swiftly.

Premiership-bound Davis wished Town well for next season as he joined the Black Cats.

"It is a big step for me leaving Ipswich and I needed to know the move was the right one," the 28-year-old told his agents' website, www.stellargroup.co.uk.


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"I had a good look around the club and had a good chat with the manager and chairman and they were obviously both determined that the club will establish itself in the Premiership.

"The personal terms took a little bit longer to sort out but, once I was happy with everything, I had no hesitation in signing.

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"Sunderland are a huge club with great support and I am now really looking forward to next season and the challenge of keeping the team in the top flight.

"I would also like to thank everyone at Ipswich. The club were fantastic to me and I am only sorry that we did not quite make it into the Premiership. I certainly hope they make it next season."

Ipswich have paid a high price for their failure to win promotion.

Town fans in their thousands backed the club by renewing their season tickets.

They have had to suffer the disappointment of missing out on the Premiership bandwagon returning to Portman Road and are are seeing some of the top players depart.

Davis and Darren Bent have gone and the futures of Tommy Miller and Shefki Kuqi, both free agents and courted by other clubs, as well as skipper Jim Magilton are still in the balance.

The pain of losing in the play-offs won't be quite so hard for players who can move on for larger, longer contracts elsewhere. Players, and their agents, are in the driving seat now.

Bent, whose natural talent was nurtured, coached and developed by Town's coaching staff, will by plying his trade at Charlton Athletic instead next season.

Some people feel £2.5million is a lot of money for a player untried at Premiership level, but it represents a return for years of investment by Ipswich Town in him. Davis was going nowhere, playing for a struggling Wimbledon side as they slid down the leagues.

He was rescued by Royle two summers ago and he has blossomed again to become the best keeper in the Championship. His miracle save from West Ham's Bobby Zamora in the play-offs was one of the finest of the season.

Yesterday, after agreeing personal terms and passing a medical, he signed a four- year deal at the Stadium of Light.

Ipswich have to pass a slice of the £1.25million to former club Wimbledon and the rest boosts Royle's transfer fund.

Sunderland manager Mick McCarthy said: "This represents a tremendous signing for Sunderland. Kelvin has played in the Premier League and he has played something like 40 games a season over the last four years.

"He was voted the best goalkeeper in the Championship by the PFA last season and at 28 he is in his prime age for a goalkeeper. He has terrific ability and experience."

Town chairman David Sheepshanks said: "Firstly, I would like to thank Kelvin for his service while with us and wish him all the very best at Sunderland.

"This was a somewhat unexpected deal which has taken time to conclude. The fee gives the club a net return of just under £1 million. This is too great an amount to refuse for a player with just one year left on his contract.

"Funds are now available to the manager for further strengthening the squad and I know Joe has has a number of irons in the fire."

Royle said: "I'm obviously disappointed to lose Kelvin but, with only a year to go on his contract, we could have risked losing him for nothing come next summer.

"He has been magnificent for us since he first arrived from Wimbledon and I would like to put on record my thanks for his two years' service at Portman Road."

david.vincent@eadt.co.uk

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