Chief executive Mark Maguire is confident that Chester FC will get a financial boost from the departure of James Alabi but admits he doesn’t quite know when that will be.
England C international Alabi, 22, was offered fresh terms with the Blues for the forthcoming campaign but opted to reject an extended contract and informed them of his intention to seek pastures new.
Lincoln City, Dagenham & Redbridge, Port Vale and Tranmere Rovers have all been linked with the striker, who was Chester’s leading scorer last season with 17 goals, but he has yet to put pen to paper elsewhere.
Alabi is now out of contract at the Lookers Vauxhall Stadium and is a free agent, but the Blues moved to secure their position with regards to financial compensation many months ago.
Being under the age of 24, Chester are entitled to a fee for Alabi, who flourished at the Blues having spent a nomadic career in the game up to arriving at the club in January 2016, playing for no fewer than nine clubs after starting out at Stoke City.
“It is a similar situation that we had with Sam Hughes [ who signed for Leicester City earlier this month for a fee in the region of £130,000 ],” said Maguire.
“Because of James being under the age of 24 we have had to do certain things at certain times to make sure we protected ourselves in the event of his departure.
“We have done all the things we needed to do to protect the club and we are hopeful that James gets the move that he craves as as good move for him is a good move for us.”
Alabi was a major plus for Chester in what was a topsy-turvy campaign in the National League last season.
His goalscoring exploits alerted a number of clubs and he was the subject of a £10,000 bid from League Two side Barnet in January , a bid that Chester rejected as ‘derisory’.
With his achievements over the past 12 months and his clear development enjoyed with Chester, Maguire believes Alabi won’t be short of suitors.
“James opted to reject our offer back in May so it is his remit to take as much time as he wants to make a decision that is going to be right for his career,” said Maguire.
“It has to be said that he has been a model professional since he has been with us and with what he achieved last season he deserves to be rewarded.
“When he decides upon where he wants to play his football next season then that club will have to come to us to offer us compensation. We have figures in mind for what we would expect to receive for James and if the offer is unsatisfactory then it will be decided by a tribunal.
“We’re confident we will eventually get an agreement that suits all parties involved and we hope James gets the move that he really wants.”