NAHKI WELLS’S desire to join Huddersfield Town was the crucial factor in the deadlock being broken in his £1.2m transfer from Bradford City, the Yorkshire Post can reveal.
The 23-year-old will sign a four-and-a-half year contract at the John Smith’s Stadium after agreement was reached over a deal that, once the add-ons for future success are factored in, will represent a record fee for the Terriers.
Huddersfield first registered their interest last year and informed the Bantams of what valuation they placed on the Bermuda international.
That initially did not meet the asking price of City, who last summer turned down a £1.3m offer from Peterborough United.
Wolverhampton Wanderers made a similar offer just before the January transfer window opened, but Wells made it clear he was not keen on joining a team in the same division as Bradford.
Instead, a move to Huddersfield appealed and with none of the enquiries City had fielded from other Championship and Premier League sides being followed up with a concrete offer, the Valley Parade board were left with little option but reluctantly to grant the striker’s wish.
City joint-chairman Mark Lawn said: “Nahki was always going to go in this window because of his refusal to sign a new contract.
“It was the place that he wanted to go and we have to thank Huddersfield for being very professional in their dealings.
“They could have been difficult, but they were the opposite.
“I know our fans will not be happy to see him leave, but we should remember what Nahki did for the club.
“In his first season he helped us to stay up and then last year we won promotion and got to the League Cup final with Nahki a big part of the team.”
For Town, the transfer is a major coup and one that perfectly fits the club’s blueprint of developing talent before selling on at a higher price. It also opens up the possibility of a mouth-watering partnership between Wells and top scorer James Vaughan.
Manager Mark Robins said: “We have tracked the progress of Nahki for some time and we are delighted that we have secured his signature.
“At just 23 he has huge potential, which he has proven at Bradford in the last two seasons.
“He fits into our ethos of buying young, hungry players who have experience and that we can develop.
“His goalscoring record over the last 18 months is hugely impressive and we believe that he is ready to make the step up to the Championship.”
He added: “I believe he will offer our frontline something different and I can’t wait to watch him in action for Huddersfield Town.”
Wells is in line to make his debut against Millwall today after signing initially on an emergency loan deal.
A permanent signing would have needed to go through by noon yesterday for him to have been eligible for today.
He has enjoyed a meteoric rise at Valley Parade.
Signed after a brief stay at Carlisle United had failed to work out, the Bermuda international initially penned a one-year contract in 2011 after a short trial.
Ten goals followed in that first season, a tally beaten by only James Hanson as the Bantams finished 18th in League Two.
Before the end of that first year, City had taken up the option to extend his contract and Wells responded by netting 25 goals last season as the West Yorkshire club reached the League Cup final and won promotion.
Fifteen more goals followed this term in League One to mark the striker out as one of the Football League’s brightest prospects and alert Robins. Huddersfield, whose previous record signing came when Marcus Stewart joined in 1996 from Bristol Rovers for £1.2m, had the striker watched several times before making their move.
For Bradford, the prospect of losing their top scorer in the January transfer window became inevitable when Wells made it clear he would not extend his current contract, which had 18 months to run.
That left the Bantams’ board in the unenviable position of knowing that, should Wells get into the final year, his value would plummet.
As the Yorkshire Post exclusively revealed last week, City were – before the sale of their prized asset yesterday – heading for a loss of a little over £1m this season.
This was in stark contrast to the last financial year (to June 30, 2013) when the Bantams made a profit of £1.4m.
Thanks to that surplus, City were able to repay a £1,088,000 loan to joint chairman Lawn.
That left the club debt-free, a boast few of their rivals in League One are able to match.
Such a stable financial picture means manager Phil Parkinson will be allowed to bring in a replacement with sources in Hull suggesting talks have taken place over Aaron Mclean – one of several targets – possibly moving to Valley Parade in a permanent deal.
The 30-year-old, prolific when last in League One with Peterborough United, has just six months of his contract to run at the KC Stadium.
Mclean, whose wages were substantially increased following the Tigers’ promotion to the Premier League, has been told by the manager that he can leave. He recently spent six weeks on loan at Birmingham City.
A week ago, Mclean netted his first goal of the season in Hull’s 2-0 FA Cup win at Middlesbrough.
Parkinson is understood to rate Mclean highly and is keen on pushing through a deal, possibly before Bradford travel to Sheffield United – who yesterday snapped up a striker of their own as Billy Paynter moved to Bramall Lane from Doncaster Rovers – a week today.
Parkinson did make two signings yesterday as Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper Arron Jameson joined on loan along with Aston Villa’s promising winger Jordan Graham.