Wells rumour mill set to go into overdrive but Bantams just being shrewd in keeping bases open (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Nahki Wells rumour mill set to go into overdrive but Bantams just being shrewd in keeping their bases open
The tweet to announce that Nahki Wells was Elland Road-bound was a clumsy spoof.
Surely nobody of a claret and amber persuasion was taken in by the mischievous message, purporting to come from Leeds managing director David Haigh, that the striker would be crossing the West Yorkshire divide on a four-year deal.
For one thing, the more eagle-eyed would have spotted the rogue ‘H’ in the Twitter address. For another, when would a club’s top brass ever announce a signing a month before the transfer window even opens?
Don’t believe everything you read.... unless it’s in the esteemed pages of the Telegraph & Argus of course.
But it’s par for the course on the minefield of social media where you should always step very carefully. And it’s just an early softener in the barrage of “inside scoops” we can expect to read and hear in the weeks ahead.
Buckle up and brace yourself for the Wells to Wolves, Wells to QPR, Wells to Leicester, Wells to Whatever Wanderers rumours coming your way. It’s manna from tabloid heaven.
Transfer windows give legs to the flimsiest of tittle tattle. It’s that time of year again when even the most outrageous suggested signing is greeted with a knowing look and a “stranger things have happened” response.
January is when clubs can get into panic mode. Seasons have not panned out as they would hope or maybe they want some insurance that a good first half is not frittered away.
Like fantasy football managers reaching for the wild card button, there will be plenty in the market for a gamble.
With his phenomenal scoring form, Wells does not represent that big a long-shot. Here is a player seemingly at the peak of his powers – even if those goals have been rattled up in the lower divisions.
If clubs view anyone outside the top tiers as a risk, the Bermudian’s goal-getting credentials should minimise that air of chance.
Not that I’m trying to get him sold off City’s books. Far from it.
Julian Rhodes was accused by some fans of doing just that with his interview this week. By simply discussing the possibility that their much-coveted striker might move on – and it was just one of “all eventualities” that he talked about – the joint-chairman was seen as posting a free advertisement for his services.
I should be flattered to think that other clubs have only be alerted to Wells’ talents by an article on our back page!
Rhodes was not touting City’s top scorer around like a barrow boy offering three apples for 50p. He was addressing genuine concerns about the player’s uncertain future.
Wells’ stock could not be higher right now. And with a contract that still has 18 months to run, City have the power to drive the hardest bargain should there be a stampede for his signature.
That might change come the summer. Once Wells is into the final year of the deal that he penned in September 2012, then the pendulum swings the other way.
Then it is the potential buyers who can call the shots as the clock ticks towards the contract expiry date – and the Armageddon scenario that the striker could walk out of Valley Parade for nothing.
Rhodes has made it clear that’s not going to happen. Having tied down James Hanson for the long term, they would dearly love Wells to follow suit.
But if there is no eagerness from the player’s side to talk about extending his current contract – and that has been the indication up to now – then the club must be prepared.
As Rhodes says, whether Wells goes now or in the summer, then City must look for the best deal possible.
And, of course, the door always remains open for those discussions about staying put for longer.
It is no stand-off between the two parties. Nor is it scaremongering to spoil a year that will go down with many supporters as the best they have ever had following their club.
It is the nature of the business and City must ensure that every base is covered.
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