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First Team News

Shamrock Rovers F.C. can today confirm that the club has reached a pre-contract agreement with Manchester City F.C. for the transfer of goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu. Gavin will remain with the first team squad at Shamrock Rovers and move to Manchester in 2019.

The club has spent some time working with the player, Manchester City and Ashfield College to put in place the arrangements to allow Gavin to complete his Leaving Certificate next year.

The background to this transfer goes back to the development of the football academy at Shamrock Rovers F.C. This is the first major sale of a player who has been developed in the Shamrock Rovers Academy since its inception in 2016. It was at that point that the club membership agreed to a forward-thinking strategy from the Board of the club which was to help stabilise and grow Shamrock Rovers Football Club. The vision in the Academy plan stated that we would deliver “an environment that promotes excellence, nurtures talent and produces professional players capable of playing for SRFC first team and beyond. The SRFC Academy will develop well-rounded, educated people, fully equipped for life as a professional footballer or otherwise”.

The progress of Gavin is a result of the Academy and first team football staff working together towards the same goal of producing the right players and people for our First Team. We are already seeing the benefits of this strategy; it creates an additional revenue stream for the club which allows us to further invest in the club as a whole (first team & Academy) with the ultimate goal of winning trophies at first team level in the near future.

Specifics on the transfer details are not being disclosed; however, it is fair to say that this is the biggest transfer by an Irish club in the professional era. The funds generated from player sales this season are significant which in itself shows that our strategy is being implemented extremely well.

The work of the senior football staff at the club; Head Coach Stephen Bradley, Sporting Director Stephen McPhail and Academy Director Shane Robinson are behind the transfer that we announce today. They are to be applauded for the work that they have done together as a group, delivering the unity the club needs to bring the vision to implementation and on to a successful outcome. This reaffirms our belief as a club that this is the way forward for Shamrock Rovers F.C. – we believe in our plan and are very confident with continued hard work that we will continue to build a world-class Academy and a first team that wins trophies.

To break the trend of young boys leaving Ireland with no education and very little in terms of a contract, this transfer is a defining moment for our club and for Irish football.  We are very proud that our club has the vision, intent and drive to put in place support networks to develop our players in all aspects of their lives.

Whilst Gavin is an exceptional talent, this transfer is ahead of where we thought we would be at the end of year two of our Academy Plan. Our talent pool is growing faster now than ever before and the pathway paved by Gavin is likely to result in more of the best talent in Ireland wanting to join our Academy.

Gavin Bazunu Stats:

Gavin (born 20/02/02) had a brilliant 2017 season, coming straight into the Under 17s from the Under 15s at the start of the campaign. He claimed the number one spot for the U17s but he also stood in for the Under 19s in the final third of the season, making a stunning save in the Shield final win at Tallaght. Being capped for the Republic of Ireland Under 15s was the icing on the cake. Last month he kept a clean sheet for the Republic of Ireland in the Under 17 friendly international against Turkey at Tallaght Stadium.

Gavin made his debut for the Rovers first team against Bray Wanderers in June 2018, becoming, at 16 years and 109 days, Rovers’ youngest ever goalkeeper. He has kept a clean sheet in all four of his league appearances and impressed home and away against AIK Stockholm in the Europa League qualifiers.

More on Gavin here