DONS chairman Pete Winkelman has finally broken his silence over Peterborough United’s pursuit of Sam Baldock, to try and reassure fans that he’ll only sell the striker if the deal is absolutely right for the club.
In a transfer saga beginning to become uncomfortably messy for all sides, the 22-year-old’s future at stadium:mk looks more and more uncertain by the day.
Posh director of football Barry Fry has claimed that he expects a deal to be done by the end of this week, but speaking to the Citizen, Winkelman said he would only be willing to sell the striker to Dons’ fierce rivals if their offer was too good to turn down.
Winkelman and Fry will cross paths at the Football League chairman’s conference in Cyprus on Thursday, and Posh’s original offer of £600,000 – rising to about £1 million with add-ons – is likely to be increased as they aim to replace Craig Mackail-Smith, thought to be heading to the Premier League.
But breaking the club’s stance of not commenting on transfer speculation, the Dons chairman made clear his desire to keep hold of Baldock.
Winkelman said: “We’re committed to building a better team than we had last season. He (Baldock) is a massive part of MK Dons and has a huge responsibility.
“We’re sure he will eventually go on to bigger and better things, but only when the time is right.
“We’re not interested in selling our best players.”
Although not wanting to speak too openly on the record, Winkelman did give the impression that he was disappointment with how the situation has been handled in the last week.
While he was been tight-lipped, Fry has been surprisingly open when it comes to Posh’s transfer targets – even declaring that an offer for Bournemouth defender Ian Pearce had been accepted, only for the south coast club to deny it.
That deal now looks to be dead in the water after it emerged the player’s former club Portsmouth would be due a 50 per cent sell-on fee, but Fry this week said he remains very confident of securing Baldock’s services for their Championship season, even declaring that the man himself “wants to play” for Peterborough boss Darren Ferguson.
Fry said: “We haven’t been able to agree a deal, but we’re due to meet and discuss it further. The chairman (Darragh MacAnthony) has given me the go-ahead with a substantial amount of money, so hopefully when I come back at the weekend a deal will be done.
“I’ve already made an offer of a substantial amount, and as he plays it will go up. They want it all up front, but to be honest he’s had a few injuries and I’d be more comfortable giving them money once he’s played the games.
“Normally when the manager identifies a player, I get him, so let’s keep our fingers crossed. He wants to listen, he wants to learn and he wants to play for Darren, which is really great. All young players want to play for Darren because he seems to get the best out of them.”
Apart from the Baldock saga it has been a relatively quiet few weeks since the transfer window re-opened, with no new signings yet announced by Dons. Keep checking this website for further transfer updates over the coming days.