PATRICK McEleney insists it was 'an easy decision' to join League One club, Oldham Athletic after his two-and-a-half year deal with the "Latics" was finally confirmed today.
The former Derry City and Dundalk attacker agreed terms last week and was involved with the team in the warm-up ahead of the St Stephen's Day defeat to Fleetwood Town at Boundary Park. However, the club officially announced the transfer today (Friday).
The free transfer comes as a major coup for the ‘Latics’ who fought off competition from League One rivals, Blackburn Rovers and Doncaster Rovers, League Two outfit, Coventry as well as MLS club, Colorado Rapids who all held talks with the player in recent weeks.
McEleney’s hometown club, Derry City, also put an offer on the table in the hope the 25-years-old Shantallow man would make a dramatic return to Brandywell Stadium had a cross-Channel move failed to materialise.
And Dundalk boss, Stephen Kenny had hoped to sign him back with the ‘Lilywhites’ for the 2018 SSE Airtricity Premier Division campaign to help wrestle the title back off champions Cork City.
However, after several weeks mulling over his options, McEleney put pen to paper on a long term deal with Oldham Athletic just in time for the club’s New Year’s Day trip to Shrewsbury although the Derry man reckons the club's away trip to Charlton on January 6th is a more realistic target as they await international clearance.
Oldham boss Richie Wellens previously said that he felt McEleney was the best player in the League of Ireland , and McEleney was more than happy to make the switch to Latics.
"After I met the manager and was around the place, it was an easy decision to join, and now I'm looking forward to getting started," he said. "I like the way Richie likes to play. Oldham pass the ball and make things happen.
"That's how I play, and it's worked for me to get here. My first target is to get into the team and take it from there really. I was looking at the table and a few wins and we can be in the top half, so hopefully I can influence that.
"I think the first game I can play is January 6. My last game was the first week of November so I've got a week to get ready and I'm looking forward to getting into the team."
And Latics boss, Wellens believes his new signing will make a huge impact at the club.
“He’s two footed, he can go either way and he can dribble past players and I think we’ve lacked a bit of that. We’ve got really good footballers who get in pockets of space and Patrick will give us a different dimension. He can go past players, he can score goals and he’s got good delivery as well.
“He’s a player that I’m looking forward to working with and he’s the type of character you want in the building.”