Patience pays as Rotherham United win race to sign defender Zak Jules

Sign here: latest Rotherham United addition Zak JulesSign here: latest Rotherham United addition Zak Jules
Sign here: latest Rotherham United addition Zak Jules
ROTHERHAM United have beaten off competition from Plymouth Argyle, among others, to sign central defender Zak Jules.

The 27-year-old Scot turned down a new contract at Exeter City to move north on a two-year deal, becoming manager Steve Evans’ eighth signing of the close season.

The manager said that patience and perseverance had paid off to land a player he has long admired.

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"Zak is a big, strong, naturally left-sided defender who I first came across when he was at Walsall and MK Dons,” said Evans.

Done deal: for Steve Evans and chairman Tony StewartDone deal: for Steve Evans and chairman Tony Stewart
Done deal: for Steve Evans and chairman Tony Stewart

"He was a really good talented boy but he’s matured very nicely in the last 18 months and he’s just had a brilliant season at Exeter.

"I know the manager down there, Gary Caldwell, really well and he’s devastated he has lost him because he thought for many parts of recent weeks that he would retain him despite significant interest.

"I first made contact with Zak five days after the season finished, so it shows how long we’ve had to be patient and to take our time and be persuasive.

"We kept in touch, kept chatting.

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"I had a chat with him before the weekend and asked him to go away and think about it and I’m delighted he’s been up today for its medical and its all done.

"A lot of people worked hard on it, not least myself and Rob (Scott, head of recruitment) and our chairman, who endorsed it to get it over the line.”

Jules turned out 47 times for Exeter last season and was being tracked by several clubs.

"Plymouth liked him. It’s not a hidden secret that could have been an option for the kid,” said Evans.

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"I think there were one or two others in that area who were interested and certainly ourselves and Birmingham have been on his tail for a little while.

"He’s big, strong, competitive and quick. I’m not going to make this kid out to be something he’s not but he’s an excellent addition to a group here that’s coming together quite nicely.”

Rotherham will be Jules’ 15th club in a carer that’s taken him from as far north as Motherwell and as far south as Devon.

He counted Chesterfield, Shrewsbury and Port Vale among his stops before joining Exeter last summer from MK Dons.

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"He’s young. People move to get game time,” said Evans, referring to the many clubs on his CV.

"If you look at the young, modern-day players, they tend to have four or five loans before they even have a chance in their own team and if they don’t get that then they’re off on the move.

“It’s very similar with Zak.”

The Millers are now pressing on with adding to the squad, with the possibility of one or more new faces arriving this week.

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