Huddersfield Town boss Neil Warnock's verdict on sale of Chuba Akpom, praise for Michael Carrick and why his departure from Middlesbrough FC still 'bugs' him
After considerable speculation over his future, Akpom - the Championship player of the year in 2022-23 and golden boot winner - completed a move to the Dutch giants on Wednesday.
It represented a big profit on the player, who was signed by Warnock during his time at Boro in the autumn of 2020. Akpom joined from Greek outfit POAK Salonika for £2.7m.
Akpom got 29 goals in all competitions last term for Boro, with the Teessiders deciding to cash in on the 27-year-old, whose existing deal at the Riverside ran out next summer.
Warnock, who makes his first return to Teesside following his sacking in November 2021 on Saturday, said: "We saw him (Akpom) on videos (at POAK) doing the things he did last year.
"He didn't do it for me or anybody else really, before Michael (Carrick) came along. He's got to take enormous credit, especially to get the sort of fee they got.
"It's a fabulous job he's done and they have invested it in some players.
"If I am honest, I am not sure people at the club will be too disappointed he has gone and (they have) got that sort of money. Michael got one year out of him and I'm not sure he'd be able to do that again.
"I think it was good for the club, Michael and everybody really. Chuba as well."
Warnock says he is looking forward to his first return to the Riverside, despite being hurt by the manner of his sacking back in November 2021, which left a sour taste in his mouth.Chris Wilder was swiftly ushered in as his replacement.But despite the unfortunate events at the end of his time at Boro, he still retains fond memories and retains the respect of the club’s fanbase, while being adamant that he could have potentially taken the club up to the Premier League if he stayed in charge in 2021-22 and was not replaced by Wilder.
Warnock added: "I really enjoyed it up here. I loved everything about the place, living up there as well. I was sad to leave, I cannot tell a lie.
"But things change and I wouldn't have been able to come back here and helped Huddersfield out last year, which was another fabulous time.
"I think we'd have gone up into the Premier League in the year I was there, if I am honest.
"So I am a little bit disappointed I did not get the chance to do that because I felt we were one of the best sides. To leave when I did, with all the injuries we had at the time knowing they were all coming back still bugs me.
"I did think we'd at least get in the play-offs and go up.
"I think he (Carrick) has done an amazing job, I am really pleased for him. Obviously, I have mixed thoughts about the previous manager. But with Michael coming in, he's steadied the ship and he got Chuba playing."