Wells; Burnley the ideal move

  • Done deal: Wells sports his new Burnley jersey after completing his move this morning (Photography courtesy of Burnley Football Club)
  • Wells scored ten times in 43 league appearances for Huddersfield last season
  • Writing’s on the wall: Wells gets used to his new surroundings after signing for Burnley for a reported £5 million (Photograph courtesy of Burnley Football Club)

Nahki Wells believes that his move to Burnley is a “step up” and is confident he can achieve “great things” at Turf Moor.

The 27-year-old striker is poised to become the third Bermudian to play in the Premier League — following in the footsteps of Shaun Goater, with Manchester City, and Kyle Lightbourne, with Coventry City — after completing a move from Burnley’s Premier League rivals Huddersfield Town yesterday for a fee believed to be £5 million (about $6.5 million).

Wells put pen to paper on an undisclosed, three-year deal.

“I have no doubt this is an ideal move for me,” Wells told the Burnley website. “I have played at every level besides the Premier League. I achieved that by getting promoted [with Huddersfield] and it wasn’t something that was going to change. I have always wanted to play there.

“I’ve documented that way back, when I first broke into the game.

“Now the opportunity is here and I’m very thankful to the football club to give it to me. I feel I can go on and do great things.”

Burnley have been linked with Wells constantly over the summer and made a swoop for the former Dandy Town player after an offer for Abdul Majeed Waris, the Lorient and Ghana forward, fell through because of complications with the work-permit application.

Wells is presently recovering from minor ankle surgery and is looking forward to getting back on the pitch at the earliest opportunity.

“Burnley is becoming an established Premier League side,” Wells said. “It’s a group I’m sure I can come in and blend with really quickly and it’s about trying to get out on that pitch as soon as possible and hit the ground running.

“The facilities are fantastic and it has everything you need to take my football to the next level.

“I’m here to grow. It’s a step up for me and it’s one that I’m relishing.

“I don’t see why I can’t learn from the strikers here and hopefully find a combination with the attacking options and play my part in helping move this club forward.”

Wells is Burnley’s seventh signing of the summer and joins a strike force that includes the recently signed Chris Wood and Jonathan Walters.

Wood, who scored a late equaliser on his club debut to rescue a point in a 1-1 draw away to Tottenham Hotspur at the weekend, is the type of target man that Wells has flourished in the company of since he first made a name for himself in English football at Bradford City.

“We welcome Nahki as another striking option and a player that is different to those we have,” Sean Dyche, the Burnley manager, said. “He holds a different skill-set and, therefore, we feel he can only enhance our attacking options in due course.”

Wells joined Huddersfield for a then-record £1.3 million fee from Bradford City in January 2014 and went on to score 49 goals in 153 appearances for the West Yorkshire club.

He was a key part in Huddersfield’s promotion from the Sky Bet Championship last season, but fell down the pecking order after the arrival of record signing Steve Mounié, the Benin striker, from French side Montpellier, and Laurent Depoitre, the Belgium forward, from Porto.

Wells, who was Huddersfield’s leading scorer for two consecutive seasons and also won Players’ Player of the Year and the Hargreaves Memorial Trophy Player of the Year accolades at the club in 2016, said he has “no regrets” leaving West Yorkshire.

“I would like to thank the chairman, the manager, his staff, my team-mates and most importantly the fans,” Wells, Huddersfield’s 25th all-time leading goalscorer, posted on Twitter. “I have had an amazing three 3½ years with Huddersfield Town Football Club.

“Reflecting back, I have no regrets as I gave my very best throughout my time at the club. I leave proud and humbled knowing I was able to be a part of history in helping guide the club to the Premier League.

“I’ve met some great people and built friendships for a lifetime. I wish Huddersfield nothing but success for the future. Will for ever be in my heart.”

David Wagner, the Huddersfield head coach, said Wells has been a “very important player” for the club, who are seven places above Burnley in the Premier League in third, two points shy of leaders Manchester United and unbeaten in their first three outings.

“Nahki is a great character and has been a very important player for Huddersfield Town for a long time but now this move works for everyone,” Wagner told the club’s website. “He is a very good player but at this moment in time we have a number of high-quality players and options in our offensive line.

“Everyone here at Huddersfield Town would like to thank Nahki for what he has done for the club and wishes him all the best for the future.”

Wells was in the last ten months of a 4½-year deal and rejected a new offer from Huddersfield last season.

Career highlights

• 2007 Makes senior debut for Dandy Town

• 2007 Makes senior international debut for Bermuda

• 2010 Scores 20 goals to help Dandy Town win the Premier Division; wins the MVP award

• 2010 Leaves Dandy Town to pursue professional career in England and enrols at the Richmond International Academic and Soccer Academy in Leeds

• 2010 Joins Eccleshill United FC

• 2011 Transfers from Eccleshill to Carlisle United

• 2011 Joins Bradford City after being released by Carlisle

• 2013 Becomes first Bermudian to play at new Wembley Stadium after Bradford reach League Cup final

• 2013 Earns League Cup runners-up medal after Bradford are beaten 5-0 by Swansea City in the final at Wembley

• 2013 Becomes first Bermudian to score at Wembley Stadium in Bradford’s 3-0 League Two play-off final win over Northampton Town

• 2013 Scores in eight successive games to equal the club record set by Derek Stokes between December 1959 and February 1960.

• 2013 Named Sky Bet League One player of the month for August

• 2014 Becomes Bermuda’s first million-pound footballer after transferring from League One Bradford to Championship side Huddersfield Town for a club record £1.3 million

• 2014-15 Leads Huddersfield with 14 goals

• 2015-16 Leads Huddersfield with 18 goals

• 2016 Wins Players’ Player of the Year and the Hargreaves Memorial Trophy Player of the Year prizes at Huddersfield awards ceremony

• 2017 Scores his 100th goal in English football in Huddersfield’s 3-1 win over Brighton & Hove Albion

• 2017 Makes third Wembley appearance in four years after Huddersfield reach Championship play-off final.

• 2017 Helps Huddersfield secure promotion to Premier League after beating Reading in Championship play-off final

• 2017 Transfers from Huddersfield to Premier League rivals Burnley for a fee believed to be about £5 million

Twitter reaction

Welcome to Burnley @nahkiwells! You just made my brother and dad very happy!! - @floraduffy

I would like to wish @nahkiwells all the best on his move to @BurnleyOfficial absolutely great guy and I’m sure will do well for you. - @M_Hudson5

Nahki Wells single-handedly saved us from being relegated. If we had gone down none of this happens, you can’t forget that. #htafc - @HTAFCChat

@nahkiwells nothing but praise for what Wells has done for us kept us up under Powell scored vital goals last season! Best Of Luck Nahki - @SamMcdermott8

The worst part about @nahkiwells transfer from @htafcdotcom is that I actually got attached to the Terriers. - @Ferrari_Woods

The whole of #Bermuda’s support will shift entirely from @htafcdotcom straight to @BurnleyOfficial #NahkiWells #NahkiWells @nahkiwells - @Carveezyy

Nahki’s new turf

• Founder members of the Football League in 1888, Burnley have been English champions twice, in 1920-21 and 1959-60. Won 1914 FA Cup.

• One of five teams to have won all four professional divisions in England, along with Portsmouth, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Sheffield United and Preston North End.

• Celebrity supporters in Britain include James Anderson, England’s all-time leading wicket taker known as the “Burnley Express”, and Tony Blair’s former director of communications, Alastair Campbell. The late Edward Heath, British prime minister from 1970 to 1974, was also a fan.

• Have played at Turf Moor since 1883 and nickname is The Clarets. Their colours were chosen as an homage to the dominant club in England at the time, Aston Villa.

• Main rivals are Blackburn Rovers, the 1994-95 Premier League champions who are now in Sky Bet League One. The sides contest the East Lancashire derby.

• Burnley’s population is only 73,021 and is an old mill town that played a central role in the Industrial Revolution.

• Average home attendance in 2016-17 was 20,558, giving it the highest fan ratio in Britain.