Dundalk have announced the signing of former Chelsea player Conor Clifford.
The 25-year-old has joined the League of Ireland champions following a spell at non-league Boreham Wood.
Clifford captained the Blues to FA Youth Cup success in 2010 and has drawn comparisons to Frank Lampard in the past. The Dublin native previously played for Leicester City and Southend while he was a key player for Boreham and had captained them on several occasions, scoring two goals in 59 appearances.
A former Ireland under-21 international, Clifford was regarded as one of the brightest talents to come out of Ireland in many years and was tipped for the first team at Stamford Bridge. The midfielder even received a call-up to the Irish senior side in 2011 for a friendly against Croatia but did not feature.
After failing to make an appearance at the King Power Stadium, Clifford moved to Southend but endured an injury-hit spell before ending up at Boreham.
A tough-tackling and technical midfielder, Clifford is also capable of scoring from long range. The Dubliner is a similar player to former Lilywhites favourite Richie Towell, with a similar stature and playing style.
Like Towell, Clifford can use Dundalk as a platform to relaunch his career.
The prospect of Champions League football would certainly have been a pull factor for the midfielder, not to mention the coaching qualities of Dundalk boss Stephen Kenny. Although still young, he will only benefit from European experience with last year’s Europa League heroes.
As part of the rebuilding process, Clifford becomes Dundalk’s third signing in two days following the arrivals of St. Pat’s winger Jamie McGrath and Danish defender Niclas Vemmelund from Derry City.
Dundalk will likely hope to add more talent to their ranks in the coming weeks following the departures of key players Daryl Horgan and Andy Boyle.
Nick Menezes, Pundit Arena