Plymouth Argyle today announced the departure of talisman Graham Carey, following four years at Home Park following the expiration of his contract.

Carey’s departure follows The Pilgrims’ relegation from League One on the final day of the season, which rounded off a disappointing season for both Carey and Argyle. His goal return declined as he was played in deeper, wider positions by former manager Derek Adams, limiting the Irishman’s influence in games.

Over Carey’s four seasons at Home Park he achieved cult hero status, turning down interest from Championship teams including Sheffield United in favour resigning for The Pilgrims in 2017. In total he made 197 appearances for The Pilgrims, scoring 49 times and winning Player of the Year twice, in 2016 and 2017. He was also pivotal in Argyle securing promotion from League Two in 2017, featured in the PFA League Two Team of the Year.

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Despite interest from League One sides such as Coventry City and Burton Albion, Carey has signed for Bulgarian side CSKA Sofia on a two-year deal. Sofia finished last season as runners-up in the Bulgarian First League by one point last season, and will enter the Europa League at the first qualifying round next season. Carey is not the first Argyle player to make a surprise move to Europe, as former team-mate Oscar Threlkeld signed for Belgian club Waasland-Beveren last summer.

Carey is the fourth player to leave Home Park since the end of the season, following Ryan Edwards, Jamie Ness and Yann Songo’o in pursuing careers away from Plymouth. New manager Ryan Lowe has already begun planning his rebuild of the club, targeting Carlisle midfielder Jamie Devitt as a replacement for Carey. Furthermore, Jurgen Klopp has committed to help Lowe with loan signings as he looks to transform The Pilgrims into a more attacking force.

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