Nicky Bailey is set to sign for Southend United today for £175,000
The all-action midfielder who has scored some superb goals from the centre of the park, notably the fantastic Goal of the Season curling free-kick against Dagenham & Redbridge live on Sky and away to Bristol City, in which he dribbled past 6 or so players before hitting the back of the net, agreed personal terms with the League One club yesterday and is now set to put pen to paper at Roots Hall.
Southend are looking for an immediate return to the Championship following last season’s relegation and they admitted that securing Bailey’s services is a massive coup for the club because they had been following the midfielder for a long time.
Blues manager Steve Tilson told the Southend official website: ‘It’s good news that we have agreed terms because he’s someone we have been chasing for a very long time.’
Bailey was Paul Fairclough‘s first signing as the Barnet Boss when he got the unknown attacking midfielder for £10,000 from Sutton United but his since he shone in Barnet’s brilliant 2004/05 season in which they ruled the Conference, his future has always been subject to speculation – supporters knowing he is too good to be kept held of.
Southend had one bid rejected in this year’s January transfer window but now they finally have their man after Barnet Chairman Tony Kleanthous had to reluctantly accept Bailey’s transfer request in the close of last season and Southend’s bid this summer.
Kleanthous told the Barnet official website: ‘We have to accept that when a player wants to go we do not stand in his way. Perhaps it is time for Nicky to move on. He would be a free transfer next summer,’ following the decision to also accept a £200,000 bid for Simon King.
‘Southend have made a good offer – I am sure that Nicky will progress even further in his career’ but admitted ‘we are rather sorry to see him go.’ He added, ‘We wish him all the best.’
Tilson was pleased that Bailey agreed terms with the League One side and following last season’s role in a defensive midfield position which he also flourished in, said he could play Bailey in different ways.
‘We have watched Nicky so many times and he’s a very good player. He is a player who has a bit of everything. Nicky can score goals but he’s a fine all-round player who I am sure will be successful at this football club.
After signing a deal, Bailey will be meeting his new team-mates later today as they begin pre-season training. Bailey, who made nearly 150 capps for the Bees, and scored 22 goals in a black and amber shirt, becomes Barnet’s third player to move up the Football League this summer – along with King and Barry Cogan (also into League One) – and the trio will face each other along with Leeds United striker Tresor Kandol who departed last season.
The transfer fees from Kandol, King and Bailey add to more thean half a million pounds and although the majority of this money will be spent internally in the club, rather than on transfer fees, supporters would no doubt like to see Fairclough splash the cash on some experienced Football League players who can help shape the side because currently, most Bees’ fans hold the view that the 2007/08 campaign will be another relegation-battling one, not a season with a top-seven finish to end with.