Class act: Wells gives thanks

  • Mother of all ironies: Nahki Wells could make his debut for Bristol City today against Queens Park Rangers, where he has been on loan the past two seasons

    Mother of all ironies: Nahki Wells could make his debut for Bristol City today against Queens Park Rangers, where he has been on loan the past two seasons

Nahki Wells took to social media to offer thanks to former clubs Burnley and Queens Park Rangers after joining Bristol City.

The Bermuda striker has joined the Sky Bet Championship side for £4 million on a 3½-year deal and was unveiled at Ashton Gate on Thursday night after completing a medical earlier in the day.

Wells scored 15 goals in all competitions on loan at QPR this season before being recalled to facilitate a sale in advance of the January transfer window closing yesterday.

In an open letter to QPR, posted on social media, Wells wrote: “As my time at the club looks to have come to an end, I want to firstly thank everyone who had a hand in bringing me back to the club last summer.

“After basically spending 18 months at the club, you made me really feel at home. I promised after a mediocre first season that I had something to prove this season and was determined to right those wrongs.

“[It] feels a lot better now knowing you got to see the real me and that sits better in my heart.

“A big thank you to Mark Warburton [the QPR manager], who has had a big part to play in getting the best out of me this year. I wish nothing but the best for the club moving forward. Big thank you to the fans, my team-mates and more importantly [the owners].

“QPR will for ever hold a special place in my heart. Love NW21.”

Wells joined the West London outfit last August on a season-long loan after a 2018-19 campaign in which he scored nine goals in 48 appearances.

City faced competition for Wells’s signature from second-tier rivals Nottingham Forest and Wigan Athletic. QPR were also keen to sign the player on a permanent basis but were ruled out after manager Mark Warburton admitted they could not afford him.

Wells could make his debut for City, who are sixth in the table, against his former club today at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium.

The former Dandy Town player also thanked Burnley, where he made ten substitute appearances in all competitions in 2017-18 after joining from Huddersfield Town that season for £5 million.

In a statement he posted on social media, Wells wrote: “Thank you to @BurnleyOfficial for giving me the opportunity to fulfil my childhood dream of playing in the Premier League. I wish the club nothing but the best for the future.”

Wells follows Shaun Goater as the second Bermudian to join Bristol City.

Goater, who netted 45 goals in 81 appearances for the club from 1996 to 1998, has no doubt City is a good fit for Wells.

“He’ll be such a perfect fit and would really enjoy it there,” he said. “I can’t speak highly enough it being a perfect match.

“It’s almost the best club for a Bermudian player to be at, from the people who are so welcoming, to the style of football.”

Earlier, Warburton expressed his disappointment over losing the services of his leading scorer.

“There was no shortage of desire [to sign Nahki permanently],” Warburton told QPR’s website. “Firstly, we know what a good player Nahki is. He was a pleasure to work with and all of us had a great relationship with him.

“He scored goals, he enjoyed his time back here and I saw the message that he sent out; it showed how pleased he was to have shown the fans here what a good player he is.

“Everyone won from that and we were disappointed to lose him. We had no desire to see Nahki go but that is football sometimes.”

Wells signed a three-year deal with Burnley for £5 million in August 2017, making ten substitute appearances for the Premier League side before going out on loan at QPR last season, where he scored nine goals in 48 appearances.

“Entering the last 18 months of his contract, Burnley wanted value and we wanted to buy Nahki,” Warburton added. “We can’t afford the fees that are being paid for Nahki Wells, though. Unfortunately, it’s as simple as that.

“I read some comments about ‘lack of ambition’ and made ‘mid-table security’ — Lee [QPR chief executive Lee Hoos] has been very clear about Financial Fair Play and we have abided by it to put the club on firm foundations.

“We can’t go and spent £3 million, £4 million, £5 million on a player. We’d love to have had Nahki here permanently, but he was a commodity that we can’t afford at the moment.”

Today represents an almost instant return to West London for Wells, but not in the blue and white hoops of the home side.

“It’s a bit of an odd one, of course, to be playing against your former team a few days later, but that’s football, of course,” Wells told the Bristol City website.

“I’ve joined for the right reasons and am looking forward to the future and the ambitions of the club moving forward. Unfortunately, QPR are the first stop.

“I will be back to a familiar ground and familiar faces, but it’s still the same desires, and I’m sure there will be a lot of talk and banter about the weekend.”

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Published Feb 1, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Feb 1, 2020 at 6:30 am)

Class act: Wells gives thanks

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