Finidi settlement agreed

Nigerian international Finidi George has played his last game for Ipswich Town, writes David Vincent.Town have now reached a financial settlement with their star £3 million signing, after lengthy negotiations, which will cancel the remaining two years of his contract.

Nigerian international Finidi George has played his last game for Ipswich Town, writes David Vincent.

Town have now reached a financial settlement with their star £3 million signing, after lengthy negotiations, which will cancel the remaining two years of his contract.

George, the former Ajax star winger, was signed by Town manager George Burley in August 2001 and went straight into the first team.

Even then there were those who doubted the wisdom of Ipswich signing a player, even of World Cup class for his country, who had never played in the English game.


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Wide man George made a sensational start, scoring twice in his home debut in a 3-1 win over Derby County.

George Burley described it as the best performance he had seen by a winger for many years.

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But the early promise didn't last and George never really settled in to English football.

He was quoted as saying he was "confused" by his role in the Ipswich team.

His first-team chances were broken by time away in the African Nations Cup, a loss of form and a series of injuries.

Despite those difficulties he did have a good eye for goal, scoring seven times in 29 first-team appearances in 2001-02.

A fractured cheekbone kept him out for a long time and a hip problem kept him on the sidelines for the last four months of last season.

He only make 17 appearances (11 as substitute) as new Town manager Joe Royle preferred to blood young players, including exciting Academy striker Dean Bowditch.

Royle decided a parting of the ways was best and gave 32-year-old George a free transfer during the season as he drifted away from first team contention.

Reported interested from Spanish clubs came to nothing, so instead Town have come up with a financial deal to persuade him to leave Portman Road.

It is a sad end for a player who was Dutch footballer of the year in 1995 and helped Ajax to league titles and also the European Cup.

The club has agreed an undisclosed compensation package, which is payable over a period of time.

Ipswich Town chairman David Sheepshanks said: "Finidi did not feature in Joe Royle's plans for the future.

"It might be an understatement to say that his career with Ipswich has been as disappointing for the club as it has, no doubt, for him.

"Despite the cost, the early termination of the contract makes the best sense for Ipswich Town.

"Both parties can now draw a line under this unhappy episode. However I would like to wish Finidi all the best for his future."

Ipswich target Ian Bennett has verbally agreed to sign a new deal with Birmingham City manager Steve Bruce, which rules him out of a move to Portman Road.

Reports in Iceland say Ipswich have been also been watching keeper Arni Gautur Arason, an international team-mate of former Town star Hermann Hreidarsson, who is with Norwegian side Rosenborg and played in the Champions' League for them last season.

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