Rotherham United: Friendship helps as Steve Evans makes triple Millers signing

Steve Evans and Alex Neil
Steve Evans and Alex Neil
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Boss Steve Evans’ close relationship with a top-flight manager helped swing two signings Rotherham United’s way on a day when the Millers brought three Premier League players to the club.

Norwich City duo Tony Andreu and Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe joined on loan deals in the last seconds of the transfer window yesterday after former Bournemouth goalkeeper Lee Camp had agreed two-year terms.

Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe, left

Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe, left

Evans and Canaries boss Alex Neil have become pals while studying for their UEFA B Licence coaching qualification together.

“Both lads have been on my radar for some time and I am delighted that, despite a lot of other interest in securing them, we have brought them to Rotherham United,” the Millers manager said.

“I must thank my good friend, Alex Neil, for his help as I know that he had several options in the Championship for both these lads separately and moving as a partnership.

“My first task in bringing both the lads to the Millers was to convince Alex that a period of time at Rotherham United in the Championship would allow both players to return to Carrow Road in due course and play for the Canaries in the Premier League.”

Kelle Roos

Kelle Roos

The deals went right to down to the wire on deadline day, with many fans fearing no business had been done when the 6pm cut-off came and went without an announcement.

The signing of Camp had been the first deal done, and his arrival signalled the end of loan keeper Kelle Roos’ short stay at AESSEAL New York Stadium, with the 23-year-old returning early to parent club Derby County.

Roos had been brought in for the season, but Evans need to make room for Camp, a free agent after Bournemouth agreed to cancel his contract and an experienced Championship campaigner.

The Norwich duo both played against the Millers in the Capital One Cup last week, with Odjidja-Ofoe looking particularly dangerous on the wing.

Andreu is a 27-year-old French midfielder and played for Hamilton before moving to Norfolk, while Odjidja-Ofoe is Belgian, 26 and used to play for FC Brugge.

“Tony Andreu is a very talented player, one who has a superb goalscoring record,” Evans said, “He is a player who can play as a main striker or one who supports a loan striker or two. He is always looking to be creative in the final third of the pitch while he retains the self-discipline to work extremely hard for the team.

“Vadis is an exciting talent and a player we look forward to working with. He is a full Belgian international.In last week’s cup match this lad was by far the best player on show. Our supporters who attended that evening will recall his dynamic movement, pace, power and technical ability.”

The Star understands Andreu’s loan spell is until January 2 and that Odjidja-Ofoe is at New York for a month,

“Both players must now work hard to secure their place in the team,” Evanss added. “There is no doubt that it helped immensely in the lads’ decision to join us in that they played at the AESSEAL New York Stadium only last week.”

Camp, 31, who started his career at Derby, played close to 200 games for Nottingham Forest and made 13 appearances for Bournemouth last season after being their main keeper the year before.

“Lee played against the Millers on three occasions last season and our supporters will have seen the qualities he possesses,” Evans said.

“Lee had a number of options presented to him from other Championship clubs, but after much consideration he has decided that his future lies at New York.

“As soon as I became aware that there was a possibility of bringing Lee to Rotherham United, I immediately spoke with my counterpart at Derby County regarding the possibility of young Kelle being recalled to the iPro Stadium.

“I must thank Paul Clement for his full understanding in the matter, and we all wish young Kelle a bright and successful future.”