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Buenos Aires to California: Where are the 11 senior players to exit Dundee United last summer?

Courier Sport examines the fortunes of the 11 senior United stars who departed Tannadice last summer

McNulty, McDonald, Sporle and Biamou were among those to exit. Image: SNS
McNulty, McDonald, Sporle and Biamou were among those to exit. Image: SNS

A tumultuous campaign for Dundee United is approaching its denouement and there has been no shortage of drama and intrigue.

And plenty more to come.

The same can be said for the crop of players who bid farewell to the Tangerines last summer.

Downing Argentinean giants River Plate; jetting off to play in California; a red card against Fiorentina — adventures beyond the walls of Tannadice have followed.

Here, Courier Sport casts an eye over the fortunes of the 11 senior players who exited Tannadice prior to this season.

Adrian Spörle (Arsenal di Sarandi)

Spörle was something of a cult favourite during his three seasons at Tannadice. Although sometimes unpredictable and erratic, he never gave less than 100% and delivered some memorable moments.

Upon his summer release, the Argentinean wide-man spent several months without a club.

However, he remedied that in January when he signed a contract with Arsenal di Sarandi in the top-flight of his homeland.

Spörle has already racked up 13 outings for his new club — including the full 90 minutes in a memorable 2-1 triumph over River Plate — and, despite plying his trade at left-back, found the net in a 3-2 defeat against Godoy Cruz last month.

Benjamin Siegrist (Celtic)

Siegrist, 31, has played two matches for Celtic since making the decision to join the Glasgow giants — facing Ross County and Motherwell in the Viaplay Cup.

The Swiss stopper, who is contracted to the hoops until 2026, served as Joe Hart’s deputy until December but injury has seen him sidelined altogether.

Given Hart’s fitness and reliability, it remains difficult to see when Siegrist will be afforded an opportunity; a far cry from the pivotal role he had at Tannadice during four years in Tayside.

Calum Butcher (Motherwell)

Butcher boomeranged back to Scotland swiftly following his Tannadice exit.

The combative midfielder enjoyed a brief stint with Burton Albion in England’s third tier, playing 13 times before being granted his release in January.

Butcher after joining Motherwell. Image: SNS

He joined Motherwell and has been pivotal to their rise out of the relegation mire, shining as a centre-back under Stuart Kettlewell — as he did on occasion for United.

Butcher was named the Steelmen’s player of the month for February.

Florent Hoti (Tranmere Rovers)

Following a spell as a free agent, Hoti returned to Scottish football in November by signing a short-term deal with Arbroath.

That came after a fine showing as a trialist for Peterhead.

Hoti in action against AFC Wimbledon last month. Image: Shutterstocl

However, the Kosovo under-21 international’s time at Gayfield proved fleeting and he was released in January when his contract expired. That allowed him to link-up with ex-United manager Micky Mellon at Tranmere, where he has made five appearances.

He is a teammate of on-loan Arab Logan Chalmers in the Wirral.

Kevin McDonald (Exeter City)

Given McDonald’s well-documented recovery from a life-threatening kidney condition and subsequent transplant, the fact he was able to play 11 games for United and contribute to European qualification was remarkable.

And the former Dundee and Scotland star has continued to play this season.

McDonald, 34, joined Exeter City in January and has racked up 11 appearances for the League One outfit.

He has even discovered an eye for goal, finding the net three times — and breaking a goal duck dating back to April 2018, when he scored for Fulham in a 3-0 hammering of Millwall.

Lewis Neilson (Hearts)

The manner of Lewis Neilson’s departure for Tynecastle was more contentious than the exit itself.

Neilson failed to truly cement a starting berth after emerging through the academy system at United, albeit he did make a creditable 19 appearances — nine of those coming in his final season.

However, to receive no compensation after developing the player for a decade is far more unpalatable.

Neilson is now a fringe player at Hearts. Image: SNS

When United last made comment regarding their claim for remuneration from Hearts — via then-sporting director Tony Asghar — it was stated that the case was pending appeal.

Courier Sport revealed that an SPFL tribunal ruled against United in the first instance.

On the pitch, Neilson has played 16 times for the Jambos, including in their Europa Conference League group phase campaign. Indeed, he was sent off against Serie A big guns Fiorentina.

Marc McNulty (Orange County SC)

McNulty scored eight goals over two separate loan spells with United — but his time at Tannadice never caught fire as persistent fitness issues plagued the Scotland internationalist.

He departed the club after seeing his 2022/23 campaign cruelly curtailed by a knee injury.

McNulty was linked with a switch to India but ultimately alighted in the United States, penning a deal with USL outfit Orange County. He is a teammate of ex-Tangerines midfielder Dillon Power.

However, McNulty has only played three times since making the move; most recently as a substitute in a 3-1 defeat against New Mexico United on April 30.

The manager who signed him — former Southampton, Burnley and West Brom midfielder Richard Chaplow — was sacked this week with Orange County languishing second-bottom of the USL Western Conference.

Mark Connolly (Derry City)

Connolly’s departure from United was a fairly protracted one, given he spent the first half of last season on loan at Dunfermline before a spell with Dundalk.

However, the Irish defender only officially called time on his Tannadice career — spanning 67 appearances, one goal and a Championship title — last summer, when he joined Derry City on a permanent deal.

A buoyant Connolly celebrates Derry’s FAI Cup win last November. Image: Shutterstock

Since then, he has established himself as a Candystripes hero, helping the club win the FAI Cup for the first time in a decade, sweeping aside Shelbourne 4-0 in the showpiece final.

Maxime Biamou (Unattached)

Biamou endured an injury-ravaged campaign at United, playing just 65 MINUTES of first-team football over the course of three substitute appearances.

The former Coventry City striker did not make a single appearance at Tannadice.

He remains a free agent.

Nicky Clark (St Johnstone)

Clark did start this campaign with United, playing four times under Jack Ross, so scarcely fits the category — but, given the fitting fixture between the Tayside rivals this weekend, we can make an exception.

The former Dunfermline and Rangers attacker, who scored 43 goals in 146 appearances for the Tangerines, has been an impactful addition since joining St Johnstone for an undisclosed fee on August 31.

Nicky Clark celebrates scoring the equaliser against St Mirren - his last goal.
Nicky Clark celebrates scoring the equaliser against St Mirren. Image: SNS

Clark, 31, was particularly effective in the initial weeks following the switch, rippling the net four times in his first nine games for the club.

However, he has not scored since November nine and has been absent since February due to an unfortunate ankle injury. Clark faces a race against time to feature again this term. 

Trevor Carson (St Mirren)

Carson made just five appearances for United after joining the club on a two-year deal in the summer of 2021, proving unable to dislodge Benji Siegrist from between the sticks.

In search of first-team football, the Northern Ireland international was farmed out to Morecambe on loan for the second half of last term, excelling for the League One outfit and even lining up in an away FA Cup tie against Tottenham Hotspur.

Carson’s exit was made permanent last summer when he was reunited with his former Motherwell boss Stephen Robinson at St Mirren.

And while the Tangerines have endured a testing campaign of goalkeeping displays, Carson has been the picture of consistency between the sticks for the Buddies.

He has been a stand-out during his 37 outings and a pivotal reason for the Paisley side securing top-six football.