January Interest No Surprise to O'Neill
Thursday, 6th Feb 2020 15:14
Blues general manager of football operations Lee O’Neill says it came as little surprise to him that there was plenty of interest in members of the Town squad during the January transfer window.
After the window closed on Friday O’Neill revealed that the Blues had turned down offers “into the millions” for players but with the only permanent exit Bartosz Bialkowski's departure for Millwall, where he had spent the first half of the season on loan.
“There were a number of players,” O’Neill said when asked about the bids. “There are reasons why I don’t say the players’ names or the clubs involved, I just don’t think that’s professional for the clubs involved. And also the ramifications for the players and the club.
“I was expecting a lot of interest anyway before the window because there’s naturally hype when players are playing well. You look at the scouts list, you look at people who are attending games and when you see them start to increase you don’t have to be a mathematician to work it out. The enquiries do come.
“But I will say it’s not just young players, it was all of our players because clubs do their homework and look at players who aren’t playing week in, week out, maybe players that we’ve purchased, maybe players that are coming back from injury and they’ll enquire about those players as well.”
Were there offers that owner Marcus Evans considered or were they all flatly turned down?
“I think you have to consider any offer that comes in, to give it the respect that it deserves, especially when there’s a lot of money involved,” O’Neill added.
“But going back to what our plan is and what we’re trying to achieve, it’s to try and keep player that we feel at the moment are doing well but have room for improvement and with the opportunity of being at the football club can help themselves and the club going forward.
“I don’t think you can entirely discount any kind of offer for a player, you have to weigh-up a number of options within that. For example, the fee that you can get, what you can actually do with it and who you can go out and purchase. Or whether you have a player coming underneath that can take their place.
“There are lots of different factors that you have to take into consideration. As well as myself, the manager and Marcus, there are lots of other people involved in that process as well.”
The players who were attracting most media interest in January were Flynn Downes, with Fulham and West Ham understood to be keen, and Luke Woolfenden, with Sheffield United and QPR believed to be among those interested.
Given their youth and current progress it might be expected that their values would increase from where they stand at present.
“If they continue the pathway that they’ve started then things will get better and obviously from a player’s point of view if they’re playing week in, week out and the team’s doing well and we’re at the top end of the league, then that’s also good for them and their development,” O’Neill continued.
“You’d like to think that’s the case. If you look at the market itself and you look at the transfers of players, there are certain key things that people are looking for and obviously some of the players we have fit those criteria.
“It’s going to be difficult but it’s a challenge that we want and they’re doing well for us at the moment. If you watch them Saturday-Tuesday there’s some players there that are doing very well.”
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