Trinidad and Tobago international defender Brent Sancho officially parted ways with relegated Scottish Premier League club, Dundee, yesterday and looks forward to a new start in Europe.
Sancho, 28, becomes a free agent this month and the club's added financial problems brought on by relegation meant that manager Jim Duffy could not make a presentable offer. The Dundee board ruled that out of contract players must accept reduced terms, which spelt the end for the ex-CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh player who signed two years ago.
"The gaffer said that with a player of my calibre and ability," said Sancho, "it does not make sense disrespecting me with the kind of money he had to offer. He thinks I will get a chance to play at a better club or in a better league and he admitted that he had several enquiries about me already."
Seven more players, including club legend Fabian Caballero, were not offered new deals while all staff members must take pay cuts.
However, Sancho told the Trinidad Express his phone was "ringing off the hook" and, although no firm offer was made, there were several enquiries, including a mysterious European suitor.
An agent informed the defender about interest from continental Europe but refused to divulge further details just yet. It is a commonplace trading tactic for freelance agents who often contact clubs on their own initiative to stoke up interest before speaking to the respective players. In the process, they help themselves to a finder's fee and commission from the club.
"I have been there before so I am not really worried," said Sancho, who also had stints in Finland and in the United States A-League.
He returns to Trinidad and Tobago today to join the national squad in training and insisted he was almost fully recovered from an ankle injury that nagged him over the past month.
"My ankle is still sore but I should be fine," he said. "I didn't have time to rest it but it is feeling alright, just a little sore. Some good sunshine and sea water and some of Dog's prayers should fix that."
Dundee and Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Kelvin Jack will join Sancho and new SPL champion, Glasgow Rangers' defender Marvin Andrews, on the flight home after being excused by Duffy.
Duffy was initially unwilling to risk the health of his goalkeeper who missed much of the season with a thigh injury but relented yesterday.
"He gave me his blessing but warned against pushing it too much," said Jack, who has one year left on his deal with Dundee. "He just wants me to come back fit for when the season starts."
While Sancho and Jack experienced the lows of relegation, the other half of Dundee brims with excitement at the prospect of this weekend's Scottish Cup final.
Trinidad and Tobago striker Jason Scotland bagged the goal that took Dundee United past Hibernian at Hampden Park in the semi-final stage and assured them of a place in next season's UEFA Cup. Scotland and teammate Collin Samuel should both feature in Saturday's Cup final before returning to Trinidad to join the national squad.