Fleetwood Town have signed 99-goal non-league hot-shot Ashley Nadesan on a three-year deal.
Nadesan, 21, has fired in 99 goals for Surrey-based Combined Counties Premier Division side Horley Town in the last two campaigns.
The McDonald’s worker has had trials at Town’s fellow League One outfit Millwall and Premier League side Norwich in April and was reportedly being tracked by Premier League winners Leicester City and Bournemouth.
But Nadesan has family in Blackpool and has opted to join Fleetwood and it is hoped he can follow in former Fleetwood player and title winning Leicester forward Jamie Vardy’s prolific footsteps.
But the striker says he does not want to be the next Vardy, instead he wants to be ‘the first Ashley Nadesan’ and is eager to score even more goals in the Football League.
He said: “Jamie Vardy is an inspiration, especially with what he has done people are trying to compare me to him but I don’t want to put that pressure on myself.
“I’d rather not be the next Jamie Vardy but the first Ashley Nadesan.
“Hopefully I can score goals and my pace through on goal has been decent over the last couple of seasons.
“After all the speculation of where I was going I am so happy that I have finally signed a contract.
“I first heard of the interest (from Fleetwood) maybe a couple of months ago and then it spiralled and people started talking and then suddenly an offer just came in and it was quality and I had to accept it because Fleetwood are such a quality team.
“I’m so happy, Fleetwood is a top quality club and I literally could not turn down the opportunity.
“They have opened up a new (£8.5m) training facility as well and I just can’t wait until the season starts and to start playing football again.”
And the striker praised his former club Horley Town and his manager Anthony Jupp for helping him hit the net 99 times.
He said: “The past two seasons have been incredible. My (former) manager Anthony Jupp has played me where I wanted to which is sort of up front or out wide depending on the team.
“The team around me has played some quality football and put me through and helped me to get the 99 goals in two seasons that I did.
“It is a shame that I didn’t get the 100 but I will save that for Fleetwood.
“It is a strikers dream to score goals and to score 99 is just incredible.
“Especially as I broke the league record a couple of games ago and I’ve been buzzing since then.”
Horley Town manager Jupp told our sister paper the Crawley Observer on April 6 that the striker is ready to make the step up to the professional level.
He said: “I have had him since he was 17, he played in my youth team at Horley when I was manager, it was quite clear to see then that he had natural talent especially pace.
“We played him at centre back as lots of players were not available and he scored a hat-trick!
“As soon as I was given the first team manager’s job two seasons ago he was straight in the side and we played him up front, he wasn’t a physical player at all but he still managed to score 44 goals in total that season.
“He had plenty of offers from local Ryman sides at the beginning of this season but I had a long chat with him and persuaded him to play another full season at our level, to gain more experience along with working on his weaknesses.
“He did this and I’m so proud of him, not many players would have listened to their manager they would of chased the money but not Ashley he showed great loyalty to myself and his team-mates.
“In my 20-odd years of playing and managing and even watching I haven’t seen a player with so much pace.
“I believe he will get offered a contract of some description with a pro’ club very soon.
“He has been watched over the last few weeks by a number of clubs, including Norwich, Brighton, Maidenhead, Colchester, AFC Wimbledon, Millwall and Crawley. I’m sure there is many more that I do not know about.”