Manchester City win race to sign 16-year-old Shamrock Rovers goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu in half-million-euro deal

Thu, Sep 06 2018

Bazunu memorably saved a penalty to earn Rovers a point away to Cork City in July. Credit: Steve Alfred

Manchester City have fought off competition from Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur to sign Shamrock Rovers goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu for a fee believed to be just under €500,000.

It's the biggest fee paid for a League of Ireland player since Roy O'Donovan joined Sunderland from Cork City for half a million euro in 2007.

The Daily Telegraph's Sam Wallace reports that 16-year-old Bazunu signed terms with the Eastlands club this week after travelling over with his family.

His join date is still uncertain as the Firhouse native is likely to remain in Ireland to complete his Leaving Cert next summer.

He will either move over in January or in the summer following the completion of his studies and link up with the club's elite development squad.

Spurs had also made serious inquiries for the goalkeeper, while he spent time on trial with Celtic in the recent past.

Bazunu has enjoyed a fairytale start to his senior career with Rovers, having made his debut in a 5-0 win over Bray Wanderers in Tallaght back in June.

He played four times in the league in total, keeping four clean sheets, including a memorable penalty save as the Hoops took a point from champions Cork City at Turner's Cross.

“At 16, especially goalkeepers, you don’t want to throw them in that early but sometimes you just can’t hold them back," Hoops boss Stephen Bradley told extratime.ie following his debut.

"Sometimes they’re ready and he’s ready.”

Fellow Rovers keeper Alan Mannus told the Rovers programme: “Gavin is an exceptional talent. He has a good style and presence about his play.

"He works well with the defenders.That gives them a lot of confidence and he never seems to get himself in an awkward position that might cause confusion. 

“A lot of people do well in training but aren’t maybe able to transfer it over to games but Gavin has been able to do that at a high level. He has been brilliant."

Bazunu also featured in both of Rovers' Europa League games against AIK as the Hoops went out after extra time in Stockholm.