Huddersfield Town players will ‘not be sold on the cheap’

FOR rival clubs wishing to recruit any Huddersfield Town players on the cheap, chief executive Julian Winter has a clear and unequivocal message.

Huddersfield Town's Philip Billing.
Huddersfield Town's Philip Billing.

Do not waste our time.

Speculation has been abound throughout the summer regarding the futures of a number of leading players following the Terriers’ relegation back to the Championship, with the names of Aaron Mooy, Philip Billing and Terence Kongolo figuring principally among them.

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Town insist they are under no pressure to sell anyone ahead of the summer transfer deadline for Championship clubs at 5pm on August 8 and should they elect to cash in, it will very much be on their terms.

Huddersfield Town's Aaron Mooy (right). Picture: Nick Potts/PA

The Terriers’ relinquishing of their Premier League status was an undoubted blow to collective pride.

But a first parachute payment of around £40m in 2019-20 – Town will also receive reduced payments in the next two seasons should they fail to return to the top-flight – will soften the blow considerably and help keep the club on a stable financial footing.

Clubs have tested the water with offers for some players, but Huddersfield are in no rush to cash in on any star assets until their market value is met.

Winter said: “We have had some bids and are not happy with them and until we get the right bids, players will not go. When they go, they will get replaced.

Huddersfield Town CEO Julian Winter. Picture Tony Johnson.

“Players will come and go and there is no fire sale or urgency to force people out of the door.

“There is no pressure on the exits of players and the club has a good platform.

“People said to me when we got relegated: ‘Oh, we know what is going to happen.’ My response was that this club has been prepared for relegation since the day it stepped in (to the Premier League).

“All players’ contracts are factored and it protects the future of the club and does not put the club under financial pressure and we are in parachutes (payments).

“It keeps a really strong platform from a financial point of view that we do not have to rush to sell.

“We have to protect value and make sure that value gets recycled back into the team.

“It is all structured in a way that will benefit the club. We may lose four or five more, but ultimately they will get replaced and we will bring a new vibe to the place and build on what we have done before.”

Inward recruitment so far has seen Town bring in Forest Green midfielder Reece Brown and Leyton Orient forward Josh Koroma – two emerging players handed the chance to impress at a higher level.

Should both require an extra inspiration, it should arrive in the experiences of former Charlton Athletic forward Karlan Grant, who has quickly endeared himself to supporters following his January arrival.

An experienced central defensive recruit in Tommy Elphick has provided another welcome senior option, with more newcomers also being lined up to boost Town’s numbers as the club seeks to reconnect with a fanbase who saw their side lose their playing identity in a desperate 2018-19 campaign.

It was a torrid season which saw several of last summer’s signings in the shape of Adama Diakhaby, Ramadan Sobhi and Isaac Mbenza struggle for game time and consistency in particular – although Winter is not ruling out a renaissance this season.

On Town’s transfer dealings last summer, Winter added: “You do not get them all right, do you? It is impossible. No team in the world gets every transfer right.

“We recruited to a 4-2-3-1 (system) which was our way and intended to bring pace and power in wide areas to bring more creativity, assists and goals.

“Then David (Wagner) changed the way we played to five at the back; it was his choice and he was the manager/head coach.

“What in essence happened in the period up to Christmas when we were losing games was that we were not a million miles away having changed formation.

“But we were just lacking that bit of something and the new players coming in did not get a chance to showcase their abilities early enough.

“People say they were mistakes, but it remains to be seen. They could get in the team this year and be absolutely amazing. So I still think there is potential in those players.

“I think we made a mistake of recruiting to a system and a formation and then playing a different way. As I said to David – and I am not saying anything out of turn – that diluted us a little bit.

“In the Premier League, we could never afford to be diluted and it diluted that bit of identity.

“When you lose 10 to 15 per cent in performance terms, you are done. That is my instinct of what happened. But it was not all bad.

“The club is a fundamentally better place from having the success that we have had. We will add some freshness to it and keep learning how to thrive and push each other along.”