Danske Bank Premiership
Cliftonville manager Paddy McLaughlin has revealed that the Reds are close to agreeing a deal with defender Luke Turner to stay at Solitude following his successful loan spell at the club.
Under the astute coaching of McLaughlin, Turner excelled this season, playing a major role in a League Cup triumph and a title challenge that saw the Reds lose out to Linfield by just one point.
The 20-year-old was rewarded for his performances on Monday night at the Ulster Footballer of the Year Awards when he took home the Young Player of the Year prize.
At the ceremony, staged at the Audi showroom in Belfast, Turner spoke about how much he had enjoyed playing for the Reds while on loan from Aberdeen but was coy when asked about his future having been released by the Scottish Premiership club.
There has been speculation that Nottingham Forest were interested, while it is understood other Irish League sides are keen on the Dubliner.
In 2021-22, McLaughlin did a magnificent job, bringing silverware and European football to Solitude, and Reds fans will want to see him back moving forward.
“We are negotiating with Luke and we are close to an agreement,” said the Cliftonville boss.
“There is interest from other clubs because he has done so well at Cliftonville and his performances have helped him win Young Player of the Year.
“I feel Luke could have another big year ahead and with us having European football to look forward to I think it would be a good move for him to stay with us.
“When you look at some of the other players who got transfers across the water in recent times, they weren’t just in the Irish League for one year.
“They were here for two or three and then they made their move and that time here playing first-team football benefited them when they went to England.
“Hopefully Luke will take a leaf out of their book and stay another year at least and that move will come to him down the line because he has the potential to achieve it.
“He has been very good for us since he came in. He’s athletic and strong and is comfortable on the ball at centre-back plus he can slot into left-back whenever needed.
“He is perfect for how we want to play and has been a great addition to our squad. It would be fantastic if we could get him tied down for another season.
“This is an exciting time for the club and we don’t want to lose key players.”
One player back at his club after a superb loan spell from Sligo Rovers is goalkeeper Luke McNicholas, who, like Turner, came on leaps and bounds during his spell at Cliftonville.