Cobblers boss Keith Curle has explained the reasoning behind the shock sale of key midfielder Matt Crooks to Rotherham United.
The 24-year-old was sold to the Millers for an undisclosed fee on Friday afternoon, just a week after leading scorer Kevin van Veen was also offloaded to Scunthorpe United.
The pair have been two of the Cobblers’ most influential players this season, contributing 16 goals and plenty of assists between them, but Curle has decided the club’s future will ultimately be brighter without them.
And the Town boss has made it clear he is looking at the long term with the sale of Crooks and van Veen, with the money the sales have generated and also free up in terms of wages allowing him to bring in players he wants to make the Cobblers stronger.
Crooks had 18 months remaining on the three-year deal when he signed for Town from Rangers in the summer of 2017, and the club have decided this window is the best time to sell him.
Curle revealed that offers for Crooks from other clubs had already been turned down this window, but Rotherham have met the club’s evaluation, and he also confirmed Town have put in a bid in for an unnamed player.
As a manager, I have a duty to take the playing side of the club forward and that can involve making some difficult decisions in the short term for the benefit of the medium and long term. We are not afraid to make those decisionsCobblers boss Keith Curle
“We said this window would be about re-shaping and correcting the balance of the squad and we need to create the best possible opportunity to do that,” said Curle.
“I have come in to a club that hasn’t done as well as it should have on the field over the last couple of years and we need to create the opportunity to change that, to redress the balance in the squad and move things forward.
“With Matt, he was always keen to return to a higher level as soon as he could and he was obviously keen to take this chance to play in the Championship.
“We rejected a number of offers for him this window and the club worked hard to keep him last summer, but once an offer was made that met our valuation and we felt was a good deal for the club, we agreed to his wishes and agreed a deal.
“If Matt didn’t move on in this window then he would be entering the final 12 months of his contract and that becomes a different situation.
“As a manager, I have a duty to take the playing side of the club forward and that can involve making some difficult decisions in the short term for the benefit of the medium and long term.
“We are not afraid to make those decisions to create the opportunity that we want to have.
“We have experience at this level and we have now had a chance to see what we have and what I feel we need to be successful, and this move will give us more room to manoeuvre not just in this window but in the summer window too.
“It will help us move towards where I feel we need to be, the attributes we need to have, the consistency we need to have and the balance we need to have.
“We are working to a plan and working to bring players in who are suited to the challenges we face now and the challenges we will face as we work to get to where we want to be and that work is ongoing.
“We have a bid in for a player who we think will help improve us but we won’t be panicking or paying over the odds for anyone.
“For now we wish Matt the best and while our work to strengthen the squad over this window continues, our focus now is on the game with Carlisle United on Saturday.”