EUNAN O’Kane has signed for Bournemouth after the Cherries triggered the release clause in his contract.
It is obviously a sad day for the Gulls to lose a player of Eunan’s quality but manager Martin Ling admitted it was a move he expected, despite the Irish midfielder rejecting a switch to Crawley earlier in the summer.
Martin will now assess the alternative options within his current squad before deciding on whether we need to look outside TQ1 for a replacement.
“There has been an expectation that Eunan may leave and I did plan ahead for life without him when he was talking to Crawley,” said Martin.
“I always felt, after the season Eunan had last year, that a club from League 1 or above would come in and pay the release clause in his contract.
“I would have loved to keep him but, in the same breath, it is a good move for him personally and good for our club financially.
“I am now looking at my squad and the 4-3-3 system we play, and what we have available for that midfield three. There is obviously Lee Mansell, plus Ian Morris, Damon Lathrope, Craig Easton and Nathan Craig. “In terms of the free role Eunan often played, Billy Bodin could probably do it, as could Danny Stevens, so there are options within the squad and I will be looking at those options over the next few weeks.
“We will see how that pans out before making any decision on spending money. There could well be answers within the squad and we will look at what we’ve got first.
“My final word on Eunan would be, as I’ve always said, he is a player who reminds me of myself. He can unlock defences and likes to use the football.
“He has been a pleasure to work with and played every game for me. We all appreciate what he has done for the club and there are times when another club comes in that we can’t compete with financially, and that has been the case with Bournemouth.
“As a person and a player, I have nothing but admiration and goodwill for Eunan O’Kane.”