Southampton have announced the signing of Doncaster Rovers striker Billy Sharp for an undisclosed fee. The 25-year-old has signed a three-and-a-half year contract with the Saints to bolster their attacking options as they continue to show their ambition of returning to the Premier League. Sharp will wear the number 11 shirt as he swaps the red and white hoops of Doncaster for the famous red and white stripes of Southampton.
|SHARP FOR SUCCESS: Billy Sharp holding |
his number 11 shirt
Sheffield-born Sharp was on the verge of joining the club back in August however the deal broke down due to failing to agree personal terms. This time around, reports suggest the personal terms were agreed before the striker travelled south on Monday with Doncaster manager Dean Saunders confirming that Sharp was leaving. "I spoke to the Chairman this morning and he told me we had agreed a fee. I'm obviously disappointed we've lost our top scorer but I knew about his clause when I came here." Sharp joined Doncaster initally on loan from Sheffield United in 2009 but made the move permanent a year later. During his time at The Keepmoat Stadium, Sharp netted 41 times in 85 appearances which gives his goals percentage of 48% which includes scoring the only goal against his new club in early December.
The deal sees the reunion of Sharp with Nigel Adkins who previously worked together at Scunthorpe United between 2006 and 2007. His goal scoring prowess was just as impressive as he scored 57 goals in 95 appearances for The Iron which lead them to promotion to the Championship. He then left the Lincolnshire-based side to join his boyhood town of Sheffield to play for Sheffield United. During his three years at the club, he scored 12 goals in 62 appearances which he then took himself to fellow Yorkshire rivals Doncaster. Dean Saunders also paid a huge amount of credit to Sharp for what has been a difficult time for him and his family after the death of his baby son. "Billy has done really well for us even though he's had lots of problems off the pitch, all credit to him, he done a great job for us and scored lots of goals. We are all sad to see him leave, but it's another chapter in his career."
|AN EMOTIONAL TIME: Billy Sharp|
reveals message to his deceased son
Nigel Adkins was keen to add further striking options after signing Japanese international Tadanari Lee from Sanfrecce Hiroshima last week. The Southampton boss will now have the headache of who to choose for the starting line-up for the game away to Birmingham on Saturday teatime as the deal for Sharp wasn't done before the midday deadline today. As already mentioned, his goalscoring ability is fantastic which caught the attention of Adkins when the Saints requested for Sharp's services back in August. It will be interesting to see whether a different formation will be used like a 4-3-3 which every fan knows that is more attacking minded however the Saints are more used to a 4-4-2 which the four midfield players can be put into a diamond.
Billy Sharp was keen to express his delight after the deal was finally confirmed by Southampton and revealed it was the ambition of the club and the reunion with Nigel Adkins that made his decision. "It's a massive club with huge ambitions, and that is the main reason. The Gaffer and his coaching team was another reason and it felt right in my head too. I can't wait to get on with the challenge."
Southampton boss Nigel Adkins revealed that he can't wait to work with Sharp once again. "I'm very, very pleased. I think Billy will be a super addition to our squad, we have a superb squad here already and Billy Sharp will add to that because he scores goals! It's good that I have worked with him before, but if you take that away you will see that he scores plenty of goals."
The signing of Shart has caught the attention of the Saints fans on Twitter who are delighted to see what he can do for the south coast club:
@saintlala84: how about wooooooooooooooooppppppppp?!!! That sums up how we feel about @billysharp10 signing for us! ;) #saintsfc
@mrncallen: it's fantastic - Lambert creates a lot of chances for other people. Sharp will get on the end of them and put them away.
@GeoEastwood7: Guaranteed goals. Good example of a sportsman. I'm going to feel over the moon to see him in Red and White!
@saintadam1981: Bloody great signing!
@mikethesaint81: proven goalscorer and proposed under Nigel Adkins at Scunthorpe so very pleased with the signing of @billysharp10
@dxsfcrule: well happy happy happy springs to mind scores goals and can help Rickie as a player as well no doubt COYR
@LHoughtonSFC: Great signing. Going to be a key player this year.
@SBlakeSFC: Amazing signing in my opinion! Very excited COYR!!
@hartysaintboy2: great signing, proven goalscorer will shoot us to the prem