EXPERIENCED defender Sol Bamba has turned down the chance to join Swindon Town due to personal reasons, Adver Sport understands.

The 37-year-old was widely reported to be on the verge of joining the Robins in a player-coach capacity at the start of the week but is now thought to be taking some time away from football instead.

Bamba was released by Championship side Middlesbrough at the end of last season, weeks after fully recovering from a six-month-long battle with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

He played 30 times for the Teesiders and kept 10 clean sheets last season, proving to be a vital cog in Chris Wilder’s mean Middlesbrough defence.

Bamba was also a fans’ favourite at the Riverside Stadium, with his off-field contributions equally as strong as his contribution on it. The 37-year-old held a coaching role within the club’s youth set up alongside his playing responsibilities.

Following Bamba’s release, the centre-back was reportedly approached by Lancashire rivals Blackpool and Preston North End - as well as League One Charlton Athletic and League Two Swindon - over a contract.

Town are believed to have been the frontrunners to land Bamba’s signature until a late change of heart saw the deal fall through.

As a result, Swindon currently have Mathieu Baudry, Cian Harries, Ciaran Brennan, and Harrison Minturn as centre-back options.

The club will now turn its attention to other targets as well as trying to strengthen several other areas on the pitch.

Adver Sport understands no further signings are likely before the start of next week as talks continue with a host of other players.

After Swindon’s 3-2 pre-season friendly victory over Melksham Town last weekend, head coach Scott Lindsey stated the club is far from done with its transfer business.

He said: “I think it’s clear to see that we need more players at the top end of the pitch and the bottom end of the pitch.

“We’re working really hard on that behind the scenes. We’ve had meetings with players and agents, and we’ve got plenty more lined up.

“We’re really pressing forwards with that, and we’re hopeful of having some more good news coming through soon.”

Lindsey will lead his squad – which is set to include new signing Jacob Wakeling – in another pre-season friendly on Saturday as Swindon Town take on Swindon Supermarine at the Webbswood Stadium in a 3pm kick-off.

The Town boss suggested several of his more experienced players – including Harry McKirdy and Louis Reed – will be given their first run-out against Lee Spalding’s men.