Exclusive: City turn down an opening seven-figure bid for Wells

Nahki Wells
Nahki Wells
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BRADFORD CITY have rejected a seven-figure bid for 15-goal top scorer Nahki Wells since the January transfer window opened, the Yorkshire Post can reveal.

The 23-year-old is arguably the hottest property in Yorkshire football right now with a host of clubs – including two from the Premier League – having enquired about the Bermuda international.

League One side Peterborough United had a £1.2m offer rejected last summer, but despite huge interest – including contact from both Huddersfield Town and Leeds United – Bradford have received only one other concrete offer.

City dismissed the bid from the unnamed club – something with which the player, who has stated a clear desire to play in next season’s Championship, is understood to be perfectly comfortable.

This, however, is unlikely to be the end of the transfer saga surrounding Wells with the Bantams, who are on course to post a financial loss this season after making a profit of around £1.4m last term, readily aware that Wells’s value will depreciate come the summer.

Joint chairman Julian Rhodes last night told the Yorkshire Post: “We have had one offer this week, but no agreement could be reached. So, Nahki is still very much our player.

“What I will say, though, is that we have been inundated with interest from a lot of Championship clubs. A couple of Premier League clubs have also been in contact.”

Rhodes declined to name the identity of the club behind the recently rejected offer.

In the Championship, Queens Park Rangers and Wigan Athletic head the list of Wells’s admirers but it is understood neither were behind the latest bid.

With regards the Latics, sources in Lancashire have indicated that any future offer could include the possibility of striker Nouha Dicko, who enjoyed an impressive loan stay at Rotherham United before Christmas, moving in the opposite direction to Valley Parade.

As yet, though, no firm bid has been made despite Wigan having watched Wells several times.

Bradford have previously made it clear that if their top scorer does leave in January, he will not do so on the cheap.

The City board realise, however, that with £2m-rated Wells refusing to sign a new contract, they must take seriously any offer that comes close to matching their own valuation.

Last season’s promotion and Capital One Cup final double proved lucrative to the West Yorkshire club, who are expected to post a profit of around £1.4m when their latest set of accounts for the year to June 30, 2013, are released.

Such a return was welcome, but a huge chunk has since gone on repaying a long-standing loan of £1,080,000 to joint chairman Mark Lawn.

The remaining surplus was then ploughed into this season’s playing budget, which has been increased from the £2m that was paid out in 2012-13 once the Cup and promotion bonuses had been added.

At the moment, City are on course to lose a little over £1m this season, which once the surplus of 2012-13 is factored in will amount to a deficit of around £750,000.

A further liability could come later this month with the Court of Arbitration for Sport due to rule on the appeal the Bantams lodged over an order by FIFA to pay Falkirk 250,000 Euros – approximately £217,000 – in compensation for striker Mark Stewart.

City signed Stewart, then 23, in the summer of 2011 believing he was a free agent. The Scottish club immediately demanded a £300,000 payment for a player who came through their Academy, which was refused. The case eventually went to FIFA, who ruled in Falkirk’s favour.

A final decision is due before or on January 18 and if Bradford lose, their final bill – including legal costs – will come to around £250,000.

The immediate future of Wells, therefore, could be of paramount importance to the Bantams, though joint chairman Rhodes insists the club is in rude health.

He said: “Paying Mark back his loan (last summer) meant the club became debt-free. Every decision we make will be for the good of the football club, I can assure our supporters that.

“If Nahki stays, for instance, we have other avenues to explore.”

Among the possible options open to City would be cashing in one of several sell-on clauses that they hold as part of the deals that have taken youngsters from Valley Parade in the past.

The list includes Manchester United and England midfielder Tom Cleverley and Andre Wisdom, a full-back with Liverpool who is currently impressing on loan with Derby County in the second tier.