Torquay United sell Bobby Olejnik while Exeter City give deal to Rhys Evans
It was a case of goalkeepers on the move yesterday, when Torquay United waved farewell to Bobby Olejnik and Exeter City brought Rhys Evans on board.
Olejnik has left Plainmoor, in a reported £300,000 move to npower Championship club Peterborough United, while Evans, a former Swindon Town goalkeeper, has arrived at St James' Park after a year in non-League football.
Olejnik, 25, had two years left on his Torquay contract. His move to London Road was completed after an afternoon of contract talks yesterday, with Peterborough chairman Darragh MacAnthony reporting: "He's one of the best goalkeepers outside the Championship, and our manager's number one target."
There is a sell-on clause, believed to be 15 per cent of any future profit, and the fee will be spread over the next two years. "It is a great deal for our club and for Bobby," Torquay manager Martin Ling said last night. "He has been the ultimate professional, and someone we had to drag off the training ground.
"I've said all along that he's the best goalkeeper I've worked with. He has been a pleasure to have at the club and deserves the move. My hat goes off to Bobby, and there's no way we could stand in the way of an opportunity for him at a Championship club."
Austria-born Olejnik, who joined the Gulls on a free transfer from Falkirk 12 months ago, said: "I've had an absolutely wonderful year at Torquay. I'll never forget it.
"I would have liked to stay, but this opportunity has come along now and there was no way I couldn't take it. The Torquay fans were brilliant with me, and I'd like to thank them for all their support."
Torquay could also be set to lose out-of-contract centre-half Mark Ellis and midfielder Eunan O'Kane, who are talking to just-promoted League One duo Crewe Alexandra and Crawley Town respectively.
O'Kane, 21, who is due to meet Crawley manager Sean O'Driscoll today, will be the subject of a £175,000 deal if that transfer goes through.
A move for Ellis, 23, will be valued by a compensation tribunal unless a fee can be agreed, but an initial figure of £70,000 is being touted for the Kingsbridge-born defender.
At Exeter, Evans agreed a one-year deal with the Gulls' League Two rivals yesterday, when the Grecians' manager, Paul Tisdale, backed his new recruit to push Artur Krysiak to be the club's number one.
The 30-year-old Evans' Football League career seemed to be over when he was released by Southend United in the summer of 2011. He spent last term at Blue Square Bet South side Staines Town, but jumped at the offer of a return to the professional game when the Grecians came calling.
"He's an experienced goalkeeper," Tisdale said. "There's a good balance between him and Artur, and he's someone I would have no problem in playing in the first team, should he earn it or should there be an opportunity. He has played lots of League football before."
Evans started out at Chelsea, but failed to make a senior appearance in five years with the London club. He had loan spells at Bristol Rovers, Queen's Park Rangers and Leyton Orient before joining his home-town club, Swindon, in the summer of 2003.
Evans, who won three caps for the England Under-21 side, made in excess of 100 appearances for the Robins before joining Blackpool in 2006. He spent a while on loan at Bradford City during his time with the Seasiders, and then moved on to have spells with Millwall, Bradford City, Bristol Rovers (again) and Southend before ending up at Staines.
Former Yeovil Town striker Andy Williams was confirmed as a Swindon Town signing yesterday. The out-of-contract ex-Hereford United front-runner, who was the Glovers' top scorer last season with 17 goals in all competitions, has been given a two-year contract by the Wiltshire outfit.