Published: 09:00, 21 July 2020
| Updated: 10:58, 21 July 2020
Gillingham’s League 1 rivals Bristol Rovers have captured the signing of Max Ehmer.
The Gills were keen to keep their captain but had been unwilling to offer him a new deal until the start date of a new campaign was clear.
Ehmer is the second central defender to join Rovers following their capture of former Sunderland player Jack Baldwin.
The move will be a big blow to the Gills and boss Steve Evans, who managed to get the best out of the German centre-half, playing alongside youngster Jack Tucker.
When discussing the club's out of contract players last week, Evans said: “My view is the same to them all, if you don’t want to sign for Gillingham go and sign for someone else. It is quite simple."
Ehmer, formerly of QPR, has done just that. He was an ever-present during the 2019/20 season for the Gills and leaves after making 250 appearances for the club.
"I'm ecstatic to be joining Bristol Rovers,” said the 28-year-old defender.
“Speaking to the gaffer I got a sense of the direction of the club. He's a young coach who's looking to play the right way and that really excites me.
"I've played here four or five times in the past and every time it felt like a sell-out, the fans are so loud. It makes me excited and I can't wait to get started."
The defender had a message for Gills fans too, tweeting: "I want to say a big thanks to everyone at the Gills for my last six years there.
"The chairman, gaffers, staff, team-mates and the fans, you have all been great to me and I can’t thank you guys enough. I loved my time there but it’s time for a new challenge."
Ehmer is the third new signing for Rovers and their manager Ben Garner was thrilled to capture one of Gills' key men.
He said: "Max is a very good defender who is proven at this level. He is strong and robust being virtually ever-present for Gillingham over the past few seasons. Max is also a good passer of the ball and effective from set-pieces at both ends of the pitch.
"The other thing Max brings to us is leadership, as soon as I spoke to him that was very evident. I think we are signing a centre-back in his prime, who has the desire to get to the championship. I am very happy that Max has joined us."