Walsall in talks with Elijah Adebayo over new deal

Walsall are in talks with Elijah Adebayo over a new contract – as manager Darrell Clarke blasts Hearts for their conduct in enquiring about the player.

Elijah Adebayo
Elijah Adebayo

The Scottish Championship side approached the club over the 23-year-old, but were knocked back as the Saddlers hope to keep hold of the striker.

He is out of contract in the summer and Clarke has revealed they are in negotiations about extending his stay at the Banks’s Stadium – and the manager is unhappy with Hearts’ approach.

“It shows what a good job the coaching staff and myself are doing that there’s a lot of interest in our players,” he said.

“We have some good players at the football club and that’s always going to be the case. We obviously want to keep hold of our best players because otherwise as a manager you have to keep building.

“Everyone is a selling club in the market we’re in, so we’ll see how things develop.

“I’m not going to say a lot on it, but I’m very angry and disappointed with the way Hearts have conducted themselves. I’ve left that to the powers that be at the football club, but I’m not a happy man at all. Especially when teams tell lies and it gets out in the public domain.

“That frustrates me but it’s been dealt with by Stefan Gamble, who is a great CEO.

“As a football club we do things the right way and it’s disappointing when other clubs don’t act in the manner we expect them to act.

“The main point for me is that Elijah Adebayo is focused on his football. He’s a great lad and has improved immensely.

“He knows that and the work that has gone into him. He’s working away and concentrating on doing his best for the football club.

"He’s obviously a player we’re in talks with, that’s been going on for weeks now. I don’t always come out in the public but there’s a lot of work being done to keep hold of our better players. But we can only do what we can do.”

When asked if he hoped Adebayo would stay, Clarke added: “For me, definitely. I 100 per cent want to keep hold of Eli because he’s getting better and better, but he still has loads of areas of improvement.

“This football club is going to make a massive financial loss this year which is probably the first time in 13 years.

“The main thing is that Walsall Football Club is still up and running through these times.

“Like any other player, everyone has a price.”

Meanwhile, Clarke is not expecting to do any more business in the transfer window, but has not completely ruled out any late moves.

“We worked very hard to get the boys that we have, so unless we lose one or two, that might be the end of the business,” he said.

“But you never say never. I have plenty of experience in these transfer windows and there’s a lot of things that can surprise you late in the window.

“The pleasing aspect for us is that not just Eli is getting interest, there’s been quite a few players of ours that people are interested in.

“That means something must be going right in their development, which is good for the football club.”

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