Mansfield Town manager Steve Evans revealed today how he had moved quickly to land experienced centre half David Mirfin once he knew he was being released by Scunthorpe.
But the Stags still had to head off a raft of clubs wanting the 32-year-old’s services, including Port Vale.
“Simply, when a player like David Mirfin becomes available you don’t want to be sitting on your sofa too long wondering if you’re going to do something,” said Evans.
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“I thought I was moving quite quickly, but David’s diary for three or four days was taken up by clubs that wanted to speak to him. He was up north yesterday speaking to a club.
“But we stuck to our guns, made an offer and told him what we were trying to achieve here.
“I told him the games I had seen him in live, games he thought he’d done well and I thought he’d done well and games I thought perhaps he wasn’t at his best and he thought that too which was interesting.”
Evans said it was a surprise to him to see Mirfin on the market.
“He is a top class centre back,” he said. “I am really surprised he didn’t go forward on his journey at Scunthorpe United, but they are fighting to be in the Championship.
“Graham Alexander has done a magnificent job over there and he has probably got his own targets.
“But we are delighted to have signed what I would describe as a big, natural, solid defender – exactly what we needed.”
He added: “The chance only came along when I spoke to the chief executive at Scunthorpe the day after the manager had his meetings with the players.
“He reeled off a list of players and said ‘Mirfin’ and I let the conversation finish and then asked him if it was David Mirfin. When it was I secured the numbers for him and his agent and made contact.
“But, quite rightly, the boy wanted to speak to the parties interested and he thinks he has made a decision not only based on the next season, which is the most important one, but for the next couple of years of his career.
“He lives half an hour from the stadium, so it’s fantastic for him and an excellent signing for us.”
With Krystian Pearce and Rhys Bennett in top form at centre back last year and George Taft back to full fitness, Stags now have a wealth of talent at centre half with the summer signings of Zander Diamond and now Mirfin.
“We have to have options to play with two or three and options to move one of those to a different position as well, so we’ve covered our options,” said Evans.