Walsall: Sawyers, Demetriou and Downing exit after League One play-off failure

Romaine Sawyers
Romaine Sawyers featured in every Walsall game during the 2015-16 season, scoring seven times

Walsall have lost three mainstays of the team that came so close to winning promotion from League One last season.

Out-of-contract Romaine Sawyers, Jason Demetriou and Paul Downing have all told the club they are to leave, having turned down their respective offers.

More could follow if they fail to reach agreement with three more of their soon to be out-of-contract players.

The club are still to hear back from Sam Mantom, who was offered a two-year deal, Jordan Cook and Andy Taylor.

Walsall tried hardest to keep midfield link man Sawyers, who was offered a new three-year contract.

The Saddlers remain in negotiations with winger Anthony Forde, who was, like Demetriou and Mantom, offered a two-year deal.

But right-back Demetriou is already talking to Phil Brown's Southend, while Sawyers has long been rumoured to be reunited with former Saddlers boss Dean Smith at Brentford.

Five fringe players sign new deals

Of the players who had been offered one-year deals, midfielder Reece Flanagan and reserve goalkeepers Craig MacGillivray and Liam Roberts have all signed, along with first-year professionals Kory Roberts and Rory Oliver.

But, while Downing has announced his intention to leave, striker Cook and Taylor are yet to announce their decisions.

Winger Milan Lalkovic confirmed his exit on Monday via his Facebook page.

In a club statement thanking the departing players for their service, it added: "Talks are ongoing with a number of potential signings. The club are hopeful of being able to announce a number of new arrivals in the coming days."

Jon Whitney has made two signings since being confirmed as Walsall manager on 1 June.

The acquisition of Peterborough midfielder Erhun Oztumer followed the arrival of teenage Bermudian midfielder Kacy Milan Butterfield.

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