Six o'clock in the morning is a slightly unusual time to confirm a new signing but it hasn't exactly come as a surprise. Brighton and Hove Albion have confirmed that Richie Towell has signed a two and a half year contract that will begin on January 2nd subject to international clearance.
The star of Dundalk's march to a second consecutive Airtricity League title has been widely expected to make the move to England ahead of the January transfer window. Although interest emerged from the likes of Turkey, Poland and America, the Championship was always expected to be the Dubliner's destination.
So it has proved and, in that regard, he simply couldn't have moved to a better club at this moment in time. A 2-1 win over Birmingham this weekend continued Brighton's unbeaten start to the season and once again moved them to the top of the pile with an extended promotion run looking increasingly likely.
And, as good as they have been under Chris Hughton, there is definitely scope for Towell to break into his preferred central midfield position. His move to Dundalk has seen him add some much needed steel to his obvious technical ability and it's no surprise that Hughton was delighted to get the deal across the line.
Richie's had a wonderful season in Ireland and scored a lot of goals for the champions Dundalk from midfield, and that really caught our eye. He is something different to the number of very good midfield options we already have here at the club, and I am really looking forward to having him as part of our squad in the New Year.
He had a lot of good options available for his next move; here in England, in Scotland, in Ireland with Dundalk and in Europe, so we are delighted he has decided to join us. He's played a full season since March, but has already made it clear he is keen to be ready to play in January, and keen to begin training with us as soon as possible.
We will give him some time off for a well-deserved break, as he's played a lot of football in the past nine months, but I am certain he will be ready for us in January and will be an excellent addition to the squad.
With two league titles, an FAI Cup and a League Cup in his three seasons with Dundalk, Towell will undoubtedly be a loss to the champions and the League of Ireland as a whole. However, as Towell himself has pointed out, the move puts him in line for the ultimate goal at the end of the season, the Ireland squad.
Roy said I broke his heart by scoring the winner against Cork City in the FAI Cup final. Hopefully I'll be seeing a lot more of him pretty soon; that's the plan.
That was Towell's summary of the situation last week and now that the move is confirmed, all eyes will be on him to see if he can continue his impressive form and help Brighton to the Premier League. If that happens, you'd have to think that O'Neill and Keane will give the 24 year old a chance to prove his worth ahead of the final squad announcement.