Oyston: We’ve tabled offers for players

Jose Riga and chairman  Karl Oyston

Jose Riga and chairman Karl Oyston

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Karl Oyston says Blackpool are waiting on answers after tabling a number of “written offers” in their search for players.

The Seasiders chairman has spoken with The Gazette to reassure fans that progress is being made behind the scenes, though he insists the current player shortage is “more an opportunity than a problem”.

It follows weeks of silence from Bloomfield Road, sparking suggestions manager Jose Riga could be about to quit.

Just one month before the season begins, Pool have only eight players under contract, one pre-season friendly arranged and a manager who is refusing to speak publicly.

Although three coaches have agreed terms to work alongside Riga, none has yet put pen to paper.

Out-of-contract players have gone elsewhere, Tom Ince finally completing his move to Hull yesterday. But Oyston told The Gazette: “There’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes, even though we aren’t broadcasting it. We have made and are making formal offers to clubs and players as we speak.

“We are now trying to get these players over to the UK to finalise things, have a medical and sign contracts.

“We really are trying to kill or cure as many deals as we can to get the right players into the club. We are doing all we can to get the deals the manager wants across the line on terms which don’t kill the club going forward.”

Estonian striker Sergei Zenjov is the only new face at Bloomfield Road since Riga’s appointment four weeks ago, though it is understood the Belgian has given Oyston a list of around 15 players he would like to sign.

The chairman says many of these of overseas players, which can complicate the deals.

He explained: “It’s always more difficult to deal with foreign players and agents. With every one there seems to be three agents who pop up out of the woodwork and are in some way are connected.

“We are working through that process.”

Pool’s supporters, over 8,000 of whom have bought season tickets, are becoming ever more concerned but Oyston was quick to argue the situation could be worse.

He added: “It’s less of a concern than if we had 28 players from last season and a manager wanting to get rid of half of them.

“This situation is more of an opportunity than a problem but clearly the clock is ticking.

“We are hoping to keep working hard to get the deals done as quickly as possible.”