Newcastle midfield target opts to sign new contract rather than leave as free agent
One Newcastle United target appears to have ruled himself out of a move to Tyneside, with midfielder Alan Judge signing a new contract at Brentford.
Scoring 14 goals last season before a horrific double leg break, Newcastle approached Brentford last summer about a potential move, in anticipation of a bargain deal (only a year left on his contract) and the Irish international able to play a significant part in the promotion bid this season.
Any move was put on hold though when Newcastle discovered that the player’s recovery was going to take far longer than they had originally thought.
In December, Alan Judge confirmed that Newcastle had made an approach in the summer and that it had given him confidence as a player to hear a club like NUFC were interested.
Still yet to make a first team comeback this season, earlier this week the midfielder said he expected to make a decision imminently.
The fact Alan Judge has agreed the new deal surely rules out any move to Newcastle or elsewhere – because as a free agent and with no transfer fee to pay, any club would have given him far better personal terms.
Brentford Official Announcement:
‘Brentford’s Republic of Ireland international midfield player Alan Judge has signed a new contract. The 28-year-old finalised a two-year deal this morning, Wednesday 29 March. The Dublin-born midfield man – currently recovering from a double fracture of the lower leg – was out of contract in June. His new deal will run until the end of the 2018/19 season.
Brentford signed Alan from Blackburn Rovers in the summer of 2014 after a successful loan spell. He first joined The Bees in January 2014 and scored seven goals in 22 matches, including one against Preston North End that clinched promotion from Sky Bet League One. He added a further three goals in 41 appearances in 2014/15, Brentford’s first campaign in the second tier for more than two decades, and his form took him to the brink of full international honours after representing the Republic of Ireland at Under-18, Under-19, Under-21 and Under-23 level.
He won his first Ireland cap in March last year during a stellar season. Alan played 39 games for The Bees last term, scoring 14 goals. He contributed a further 16 assists before suffering a serious injury against Ipswich Town last April. Alan is still recovering from that injury but it is hoped he will resume full contact training shortly.
Alan’s performances earned him the Sky Bet Championship Player of the Month Award for October 2015 and a place in the PFA Championship Team of the Season. He finished third in the EFL Awards Championship Player of the Season list last season – voted for by the division’s managers – and was named in the EFL Team of the Season. Alan also won a series of prizes at the Club’s awards evening including Supporters’ Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year.
Dean Smith, Brentford FC Head Coach, said: “I am really pleased that Alan has committed his immediate future to us. He has been an integral member of the squad since he joined and has played a massive part in the recent success of the Football Club. He is close to a full recovery from the terrible injury he suffered and we will certainly reap the benefits when he returns to the standards he was setting in the Championship prior to the injury, which earned him his first full international cap and plaudits from managers and peers from within the Championship. It is a great boost to the staff, the squad and supporters that his future remains at Brentford.”
Phil Giles, Brentford FC Co-Director of Football, added: “When Alan suffered the injury at Ipswich our first thoughts were regarding his health, recovery and the fact that he would miss playing in the European Championships for Ireland. However, all parties were aware of his contract situation and that his return to the squad would be near the end of that contract. No conversations were held until recently when Alan was nearing a return, so he could focus fully on his recovery. When we finally sat down to discuss the contractual situation it was apparent that a new contract was the best outcome for all, in particular knowing that Alan enjoys being at Brentford and living in the area. I’m delighted that he has signed and look forward to him returning to the team.”
Alan started his career at Blackburn, and turned professional at 17, making his debut for the Lancashire side as a substitute in the League Cup against Grimsby Town in August 2008. He was loaned out to Plymouth Argyle twice before another loan move to Notts County in August 2010, which was made permanent in January 2011. After two years with Notts County, he returned to Blackburn on a Bosman free transfer. He spent one more year at Ewood Park before joining Brentford.’
If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]