HUDDERSFIELD TOWN chairman Dean Hoyle says that the club’s hand was forced to sell star midfielder Jacob Butterfield to Derby County – and insists he was adamant in his desire to leave.
Butterfield’s for an undisclosed fee, understood to be around £4m, was the headline move on a modest transfer deadline-day of activity across Yorkshire, which saw 13 incoming and outgoing transfers completed.
The main arrival came at Hull City where the Tigers made a successful late move to sign Norway striker Adama Diomande from Stabaek in a £1.7m deal.
The ex-Dinamo Minsk forward, who had scored 17 times in 21 games for his club this season, arrives as a replacement for Nikica Jelavic, who joined West Ham for £3m earlier on deadline day.
Just as significant for Hull was managing to keep hold of Ahmed Elmohamady, Michael Dawson, Tom Huddlestone and Mo Diame, despite top-flight interest.
As expected, Leeds United also completed a £1m deal to sign Dutch winger Jordan Botaka.
The departure of Butterfield ended a saga which had seen Derby previously fail in a number of bids to sign the 25-year-old.
Hoyle claimed that Town were left with no choice but to cash in and sell Butterfield, stating that he wanted to leave after Derby tabled their first bid, while claiming he did not wish to play for the club.
Hoyle said: “We all wanted to keep Jacob here, but he made it very clear as soon as the very first bid came in a few weeks ago, he wanted to leave us there and then.
“He didn’t want to play for us anymore from then on with immediate effect.
“Equally, we made it crystal clear that for a transfer to happen, the deal had to be not just a good one, but one we could not refuse.
“As the days have passed, we have rejected a series of further offers to try and retain Jacob, but with each bid the situation has become more and more difficult.
“Jacob has become totally unsettled by the speculation and more and more adamant in his demand to leave us.
“Finally, after another offer came in over the weekend, we reluctantly reached an acceptable agreement on Monday.
“The timing is not what we wanted coming so late, but that was beyond our control. We knew it was a possibility a late offer could come in that was just too good to refuse.”
Hoyle’s comments regarding Butterfield appeared to be at odds with statements made by the player after the weekend game at home to Queen’s Park Rangers.
The midfielder, who picked up the man-of-the-match award for a second successive home game at the weekend, said that while speculation about his future was stressful and distracting, he pledged to remain “fully committed to the club and the team” while he was a Town player.
Butterfield’s has compounded a difficult summer window for Town, who have also seen fellow key players Conor Coady and Alex Smithies sold for a combined fee of around £3.5m, with sections of the club’s support disgruntled at a perceived lack of reinvestment in the squad.
Town did complete one piece of incoming business, bringing in Nottingham Forest winger Jamie Paterson on a season-long loan with a view to a permanent move.
But Hoyle said that potentially rushing through a quick-fire deal to mitigate for the loss of Butterfield was not a justifiable option, while acknowledging that the loss of another influential player in Butterfield would be viewed as an “unsettling” development for fans.
Hoyle, whose side headed into the international break without a win in their opening six matches in all competitions, said: “Selling a key player is always challenging and can be unsettling for fans, but it’s not the first time and it won’t be the last and it’s an important part of what we must do to succeed and progress.
“We are not going to be rushed into a hurried replacement, we have not done that before.
“It is important we get it right and that means we all must be patient to get the right man in, just as we have done in the past.”
Deadline day also proved a largely frustrating one in the Steel City with both Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United failing to add to their squads.
The Owls missed out on Matej Vydra, who joined Reading on a season’s loan, with fellow target Gary Hooper staying at Norwich.
One major outgoing saw Stevie May move to Preston for an undisclosed fee with the Owls also entitled to a seven-figure sell-on fee following Michael Antonio’s £7m move to West Ham from Nottingham Forest.
Rotherham bolstered their ranks by signing ex-Bournemouth goalkeeper Lee Camp in a two-year deal with under-fire loanee Kelle Roos returning to Derby early after joining on a season-long loan in June.
Norwich City pair Tony Andreu and Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe have also joined the Millers on loan.
Barnsley signed Swindon forward Michael Smith on loan with a view to a permanent deal and made Nick Townsend’s loan switch into a full-time move.
Ex-Huddersfield player Oscar Gobern joined Doncaster Rovers on a temporary basis until January 4 after moving from QPR.