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Why Huddersfield Town now hold all the aces in Nahki Wells' contract negotiations

Examiner Football Writer Blake Welton looks at the intriguing situation playing out between the club and the player
Nahki Wells celebrates winning the SkyBet Championship Play-Off Final with Huddersfield Town.

Despite Huddersfield Town tying down a number of key personnel to new deals at the club, conspicuous in absence has been any news of Nahki Wells’ current contract situation.

While Chris Lowe, Elias Kachunga, Jonathan Hogg, Tommy Smith and Rajiv van La Parra have all been rewarded for their SkyBet Championship promotion exploits, the Bermudian forward has entered into the final year of his contract.

It seems, for whatever reason, the two parties have reached an impasse in extending the 27-year-old’s time from the current four-and-a-half year contract he signed when joining for a then-club record £1.3m from Bradford City back in January 2014.

Astonishing to think that record figure has already been broken six times this summer alone, but that is the changing landscape Huddersfield Town now find themselves in after Premier League promotion.

No disrespect to Wells’ ability or commitment to the cause, but tying him down to a new contract is perhaps not as important as it was six or eight months ago, with the club now appearing to hold all the aces in the negotiation pack.

It’s incredible what a financial shot in the arm to the tune of £185m can do for a football club’s perspective and priorities, with Town already successfully strengthening their attacking artillery with the captures of Laurent Depoitre, Tom Ince and Steve Mounie.

Arguably Wells stock was at the highest ahead of the last January transfer window where he appeared to cement himself as Town’s main man with a run of four goals in six crucial games between Bristol City at home on Saturday, December 10, and Wigan Athletic on Monday, January 2.

Speculation was rife at the time the striker was set for a move to rival Championship side Norwich City after head coach David Wagner revealed a new contract offer was rejected during the previous summer.

Nahki Wells celebrates a goal with team-mates Elias Kachunga and Izzy Brown last season.

Speaking to the Examiner at the time, Wells said, “I think a bit of what came out (about the new contract rejection) has been misconstrued.

“If anyone questioned my attitude towards the season so far, I would strongly disagree.

“I am working hard and I will continue to do that.”

Yet a bid never came for the player – either from Norwich or any other club – and although his commitment couldn’t be questioned the flow of goals dried somewhat, with fellow striker Elias Kachunga eventually ending the campaign as the club’s top goalscorer with 13 goals (and all from a wider position than Wells’ central slot).

Indeed, despite his best efforts, Wells looked uncomfortable at times in Wagner’s high intensity 4-2-3-1 formation which requires the German’s ‘gegenpressing’ approach to begin at the top of the team.

Although Wells is not that sort of striker, more a natural goalscorer who thrives alongside an aerial strike partner such the one he had at Bradford in James Hanson, he performed his role admirably under difficult circumstances.

And again in March the player made all the right overtures regarding his Town future while simultaneously underlining his long-term desire to play in the Premier League.

Speaking at the time, he said: “My heart’s here, my mindset’s here - I don’t think I could explain how much more excited I could be about the next three or four months because, as I said from day one, our dream is to play in the Premier League.

“And what better opportunity would it be to go up with this side and dedicate my future to Huddersfield long term.”

The Play-Off final win over Reading at Wembley saw this dream fulfilled, but the question now is not only for how long at Huddersfield Town but how long will he remain a top-flight player?

There seems to be no seemingly realistic Premier League suitor ready to make a move – earlier sources this summer linking Wells to Burnley appearing wide of the mark.

Wells is now in footballing limbo with the club appearing content to let the situation, and his contract play and, in essence, run out.

He will, of course, remain part of Wagner’s squad until something happens and, should the chance arise, he will be doubly determined to prove his worth at Premier League level.

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