Adrian Mariappa, the experienced Jamaica defender, is still searching for a new club following this month’s release by recently relegated Watford.
The 33-year-old, who rejoined the London club in 2016, was not offered a new deal under the English Championship side’s new head coach Vladimir Ivić. He signed a short-term deal to see out the stop-start season but was relegated from the English Premier League (EPL) on the final day of the season in late July.
It was arguably not the best season for Mariappa, having tested positive for coronavirus in mid-May and then suffering the drama of dropping out from the top flight on 26 July.
But Mariappa, who is of Fijian descent, was given a welcome boost this month by scooping a prestigious Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) Men’s Community Champion Award with Watford.
However, London-born Mariappa was then deemed surplus to requirements under Ivić and is now kicking around for a new club as the 2020-21 campaign edges ever closer. EPL outfits Burnley and Leeds United have been tentatively rumoured to be his next destination, with Championship sides – such as ambitious Bristol City – also believed to be interested.
He came through the youth academy at Watford before signing professional terms for the 2005-06 campaign, and went on to play seven successive seasons with the club – six terms in the Championship and one stint in the EPL – before moving to the top flight with Reading for US$4.25m.
Mariappa, who won 49 international caps for Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz, played only one season with Reading as he was snapped up by Crystal Palace for US$4m. He was released after three campaigns and, after his deal fell through to join Scottish giants Rangers, rejoined Watford four years ago.
He still has a plethora of admirers in the top flight, including Newcastle United, but whether the former captain of the Boyz will return to ply his trade in the Championship or the EPL remains to be seen. Fewer deals appear to be taking place than usual due to the coronavirus outbreak, with many clubs happyto blood their reserves and rely on their current squad members.
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