Long signing pursuit pays off for Neal
Neal Ardley has moved swiftly to bolster his squad before the transfer deadline by signing experienced midfielder Tom Soares.
The 30-year-old today signed for an undisclosed fee from League One Bury after five years with the Shakers.
Tom, who was brought up in Reading, arrives at AFC Wimbledon with a good pedigree as he made Premier League appearances for Crystal Palace, before being signed by Stoke City for £1.25 million.
In recent seasons, he’s been a key player at Bury, helping the Shakers to promotion in 2014/15 with his goal against AFC Wimbledon in the penultimate match of that season helping them go up automatically.
Neal Ardley said he was delighted that his long pursuit of the player had reached a successful conclusion and our manager thanked the club board for making it happen.
“Tom is a player we’ve liked for a number of years and we looked at maybe bringing him in back in November,” Neal told Dons Player. “We tried early in January to make enquiries, but it did not look like being something we could do. We then looked towards the summer for maybe a chance of getting him then if he did not sign a new deal, but quite late on in the window it started looking we might have half a chance. It took a lot of hard work yesterday, but we got there and I’m absolutely delighted we’ve got him.
“Tom has often played out of position this season at centre-back, right back, or right midfield, but his best position is as a central midfielder. He can play a holding role, advanced, or as a two. He is very powerful, has good aerial ability, and a lot of his athletic stats are very high. We’ve done a lot of homework on him and he is a very good player.
“If you look at his pedigree, he signed for Stoke from Crystal Palace for over £1 million. I think he is in his prime now. When I thought there may be a chance of getting Tom, I asked the board to put together whatever they could muster to try to get a deal over the line and they have come up trumps. The board and the club have done a great job.”
.Dons PlayerA full interview with Neal about the signing of Tom is now on