Finidi to leave Town with £1million

FINIDI George is soon to part company with Ipswich Town Football Club with two years of his four-year contract still to run.The Nigerian international will be owed perhaps as much as another £2 million by the time his contract expires, but he and the club are set to come to an agreement somewhere near the halfway mark.

FINIDI George is soon to part company with Ipswich Town Football Club with two years of his four-year contract still to run, writes Tony Garnett.

The Nigerian international will be owed perhaps as much as another £2 million by the time his contract expires, but he and the club are set to come to an agreement somewhere near the halfway mark. That would mean Finidi will return to his base in Spain with around £1 million.

Ipswich have made Finidi an offer which has been accepted in principle although there are some loose ends still to tie up.

The signing of Finidi George for £3.1 million from Real Mallorca in the summer of 2001 has proved to be the most costly blunder in the history of Ipswich Town Football Club.


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It was hoped that the Nigerian World Cup star, with experience at Ajax, Real Betis and Real Mallorca, would be just the player to take the Premiership by storm. He had a quiet match at Sunderland but won over home fans with his home debut against Derby County. Derby were subsequently relegated and had been reduced to 10 men.

Like many overseas players George found it hard to adapt to the demands of English football. He has never before been required to track back and defend as a winger and once went on record as saying that he did not know what was required of him.

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Manager George Burley gave him every opportunity but he fell out of favour with Town fans and the following summer was dropped from the Nigerian World Cup squad in Korea and Japan. This followed some disappointing displays in the African Nations Cup.

Last season little was seen of Finidi George who made six starts and appeared 11 more times from off the bench. He starred as a substitute in the 6-1 victory over Leicester City at Portman Road when he scored his only first-team goal of the campaign.

In all he made 31 starts, came off the bench 15 times and scored eight goals. With a £3.1 signing on fee, £2 million in wages for the past two seasons and a pay-off of around £1 million it appears that each goal cost around £762,500.

By the time Joe Royle became manager at Portman Road it was clear that Finidi George, who had been given a free transfer in the summer, was surplus to requirements. He hopes to find a club in Spain, where he has a big reputation, in the coming season.

It was a sad and costly episode in Ipswich Town history made worse by the signings of other overseas players on Premiership wages such as goalkeeper Matteo Sereni, Ulrich Le Pen and Amir Karic, all of whom fell out of favour.

Ipswich have made some signings in the past that have rebounded on the club but none has involved such enormous wages that the club has fallen into administration.

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