WHATEVER happens over the next few weeks, the Green Army can be guaranteed a brand new attacking combination will open the 2019-20 Sky Bet League Two campaign.
The triumvirate of Freddie Ladapo, Graham Carey and Ruben Lameiras have all moved on from Home Park, and while new boss Ryan Lowe would have liked to keep them at the club, the trio go with all our best wishes.
Freddie was signed by Rotherham for a transfer fee, while Carey and Lameiras moved to Bulgaria and Portugal, respectively, after turning down offers of a new contract with the Pilgrims.
“I didn’t know Fred as a lad but I did speak to him on the phone, and by text,” said Ryan. “He asked me questions about the clubs in for him and I did highly recommend Richie Barker and Paul Warne at Rotherham because they were both strikers.
“I tried to keep Fred because he scored 19 goals [last season] but his head was elsewhere, which was fine. We’re not going to begrudge anyone and it was good business for the football club. He’s moving to a higher division and a fantastic club in Rotherham.
"I tried [to keep him] but we move on and wish him all the best. He had a fantastic season for Argyle, scored lots of goals and long may that continue.
“Lameiras has gone to play for a team in Portugal, Carey has gone to a team in Europe and Freddie has gone to a good team in Rotherham. I don’t blame them at all.”
In an ideal world, Ryan would have relished the chance to work with the departed trio and give them a chance to put right the disappointment of relegation last season.
“What I would have liked them to do, from a selfish point of view, is to give me a chance to work with them and also give the Argyle fans a chance to change what happened last season, but they have been good servants to the football club,” said Ryan.
“We offered Graham and Ruben contracts to stay, but I’m happy they haven’t gone to other clubs in League Two. They’ve gone to foreign clubs and, who knows, maybe one day they ask to come back to Argyle.
“I wish them all the best and, yes, slight disappointment they didn’t give us another year to rectify what happened last season but I wish them well.”
The departure of Ladapo to Rotherham has naturally led to questions about money available to the new boss for player recruitment but Ryan was quick to point out he already has a healthy budget to play with.
Three big-hitters have now left and that obviously releases some finance but there is clear determination from the gaffer to spend that money wisely, on players who want to bring a new era of success to Home Park.
“When I signed the contract and talked about where we were going to go, the budget was there and that’s not going to change,” said Ryan. “I’ll spend it wisely and spend it like it was my own. I’m not one for chucking money at people. It’s got to be the right person.
“We had Fred, Graham and Ruben in that budget, so it does free up money but I had money anyway to go and bring in signings. We will stick to our budget and we’re happy. I’ve got a good budget and they [the Board] have backed me.
“We tried to keep Ruben and Graham but they didn’t want to be here. We offered them good contracts but I’m pleased for them to try a different challenge. Fair play to them but there’s always a new kid on the block, someone else who can come in and perform to the same levels as those boys.”