Wolves rejected several multi-million pound deadline bids from Nottingham Forest at the 11th hour to keep Bakary Sako at Molineux, it emerged today.
In a frenzy of late activity before last night’s 11pm deadline, Forest submitted at least three offers, rising from £1.5m last Thursday, culminating in what is believed to be a final bid of around £3.5m.
All were for straight cash, not involving any other players.
But each time, chairman Steve Morgan, chief executive Jez Moxey and head coach Kenny Jackett held firm.
They want to keep Sako in the hope he can help inspire Wolves back to the Championship at the first attempt.
Ultimately, Morgan’s tough-line stance prevailed as the owner-chairman underlined his ambition and determination to keep Sako and Kevin Doyle, who was the subject of late interest from Leicester. Keeping a player of Sako’s value and £25,000-a-week wages is a gamble after his head was turned by Forest’s interest.
The player withdrew from Saturday’s 3-1 win at Port Vale because he wasn’t focused on playing amid the continued speculation about his future. But Wolves are hopeful they can re-tune the former St Etienne wideman’s mind to their promotion bid.
Jackett said: “He’s a good professional and a good personality and I’m sure he’ll re-focus and adjust to the circumstances in front of him.
“He loves playing football and he’s a very good trainer so I’d expect his enthusiasm to come back when things settle for him.
“There’s no reason whatsoever why he shouldn’t carry on being the player he’s been for us.”
Wolves completed one piece of incoming business, the signing of highly-rated 17-year-old Wrexham striker Bradley Reid on a two-year deal for a fee believed to be £200,000.
He is set to be loaned back to the Conference club for a month.
Head of football development Kevin Thelwell said: “Bradley will go with the Under-21 group. We’ve monitored his progress since Under-16s level and we’re confident he’ll continue to develop.”
Yesterday’s departures of Georg Margreitter on a season-long loan to FC Copenhagen and Jamie Reckord to Plymouth to January bring the number of departures since May to 20, or 16 excluding departed loans.
Wolves opted not to follow up interest in Livingston midfielder Stefan Scougall, who had been on trial.