Huddersfield Town smashed their record transfer fee to sign Nahki Wells from Bradford City, but the striker is already proving value for money – and his improvement under David Wagner suggests that fee could eventually be described as bargain basement.
Captured in January 2014 following a run of 53 goals for the League One Bantams in two and a half years, the Bermudian has netted 37 times for Town to date, but he is blossoming under the new manager and looks set to be finding the net even more regularly in the future.
With eight games of the current campaign to go, Wells has already surpassed his goal tally from last year and has clocked up more appearances and more minutes than he managed across his first full season at the club.
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But it isn’t simply a question of being on the pitch for longer – Nahki now needs less time to make his mark on the scoresheet.
His 11 league strikes in 2014/15 meant he was scoring, on average, every 215.9 minutes, whereas this term he is finding the net every 190.8 minutes.
And if any Town fan needs further cause for optimism when it comes to studying the impact of the star striker, they only need to look at the difference in his form since David Wagner arrived.
In a system that only calls for one out and out frontman, and demands a high workload, Wells won the trust of his manager early and has flourished with the added responsibility.
His performance in the 4-1 derby victory at Elland Road proved his displays are about much more than goals, but he’s also scoring more often than ever before.
In the games he played this season prior to Wagner’s appointment, Wells was scoring every 253.25 minutes, now he only needs, on average, 168.09 minutes to find the net.
He’s also proving more accurate than under previous boss Chris Powell, with his shots per goal ratio reduced from 8.25 to 7.09.
But he’s also taking more touches than ever before, and becoming increasingly involved in build-up play and creating chances for teammates. Three of his four assists this season have come under Wagner’s tutelage.
In a week that has prompted much chatter about the fee Town paid for his services – and the various add-ons – Wells continues to go from strength to strength, and his value to the team’s success continues on a steep upward trajectory.
Eight of his goals have come since the turn of the year, and he looks well-placed to surpass 20 strikes by the time the curtain falls on Wagner’s first season in England.
The boss already has his leading man, and any summer business looks likely to be finding the pieces to complement him.