Striker set for Blackpool FC return?

Armand Gnanduillet could be set for a surprise return to Bloomfield Road
Armand Gnanduillet could be set for a surprise return to Bloomfield Road

Armand Gnanduillet has been linked with a surprise return to Blackpool despite signing for a new club just two months ago.

The French striker was offered renewed terms by the Seasiders at the end of last season but the 26-year-old opted to sign for South African side Baroka FC instead.

However it has now emerged Gnanduillet has parted ways with South African Premier Division side and is seeking a return to Bloomfield Road.

The Gazette understands Gnanduillet is close to sealing a return to Blackpool.

That could well be confirmed in the coming days although there are still one or two issues to be ironed out.

Despite signing a two-year contract with Baroka, with the option of a further 12 months, the club decided to part ways with the striker at the start of July.

It is understood the club, who are limited to the amount of foreign players they are allowed to sign, failed to register Gnanduillet for the forthcoming season as they have already filled their quota.

Speaking to South African football website KickOff.com, Baroka CEO Morgan Mammila confirmed Gnanduillet won’t be playing for the club for the forthcoming season.

“Yes he has left. We have five foreign players,” he said.

“My plan was to get citizenship for Mpho Kgaswane (Botswana international) because his mother is from South Africa. But I think that will take time.

“He is going to Blackpool. He will come back in future because he has unfinished business here.”

Mammila, speaking when Gnanduillet’s signing was confirmed in May, said he was counting on the Frenchman to solve the club’s scoring problems.

He added: “It’s two years, with a one year option. He scores goals.

“He was playing for Blackpool. It’s my duty to shop around for players and luckily my contacts worked.

“I spoke to the boy and I invited him to come to South Africa. He came to the country and he signed. He is leaving the country and he will join the team when we start on the June 12.

“We were lacking a bit up front, so I think he will help us big time. He has the experience and I believe he will do well.”

Gnanduillet, who scored five goals in 31 appearances this season, first arrived in England in 2013.

He played for Chesterfield and Leyton Orient before signing for Blackpool in 2016.

He has also played for Le Havre and AS Poissy in France.

Elsewhere, Pool boss Gary Bowyer is still waiting to hear back from defender Kelvin Mellor, whose contract ran out at the start of the month.

The free agent has been linked with a move to Championship side Wigan Athletic but the right-back has yet to establish his club for the coming season, though it is understood Bowyer has given him extra time to make up his mind.

Meanwhile Dolly Menga, another free agent, is not expected to return to the club, while Marc Bola, who has been linked with Blackpool, is no longer training with Wigan.