Motherwell manager Graham Alexander says the club booted out January bids for key midfielder Allan Campbell, who was linked with clubs like Millwall last month.
The Scotland U21s international is in the final months of his contract at Fir Park and has not been short of interest, Aberdeen, Hibs and Millwall all linked with his services. But when bids from unnamed clubs came late in the transfer window, Motherwell didn’t budge.
Alexander has explained Campbell’s situation and the ambition it shows at Fir Park: “We have turned down substantial bids for Allan Campbell in January. That was probably 10 days ago or so, and you can see in Allan’s performances that nothing has changed.
“I sat down with Allan when it was happening and had really good conversations with him. He’s a young player but he has really good experience for such a young age, and for me he represents what we want to be as a club.
“We don’t want to stand in the way of people’s progression and if they can achieve their goals and ambitions of playing at the highest level they can then that’s great, but our first focus has to be Motherwell, it has to be that the club is the biggest thing.
“The biggest thing for us is staying in the Premiership this season. Without those players, those individuals and certainly Allan Campbell, our job would have been harder, so I explained my thoughts on it, the club’s stance on it, and Allan’s response to it has been absolutely top-notch – which I would have expected from a player of his calibre, and which will hold him in great stead for the rest of his career.
“I have no doubt that at some point we will lose Allan Campbell and he will play at a very high level because he is a very good player. But my first focus now is on doing the best for Motherwell, that’s the biggest thing for me. When I explained that to Allan he understood, and I haven’t seen one per cent of a drop from him or any of the other players, and I’ve been in the game for a long time.”
Motherwell also managed to retain fellow out of contract stars in club captain Declan Gallagher and Stephen O’Donnell, a vital part of Alexander’s Premiership survival plans: “Allan’s an absolute top professional and he just wants to win – the same as Declan Gallagher and Stevie O’Donnell.
“For me, if I thought they were not focused on us, they were looking elsewhere and it was affecting their performance, then we would probably help that happen, because we only want players who are committed. What I’m seeing is players who are committed to what we’re trying to do.
“Our best bit of business in the whole of January is those boys still being here at the start of February and committed. For me, that’s brilliant for everybody. I’m happy to get to February 1 with the squad intact and we’ve made some good additions to it, so for me we’re in a better place than we were three weeks ago.
“I know what I’ve got to work with from now until the end of the season and I hadn’t known that right up until midnight last night. Now this is our group of players, we can come together even closer, continue to keep this form going and hopefully get more wins, that’s the most important thing now.
“I have no doubt that those players who possibly have ambitions elsewhere, ultimately, will achieve those ambitions, and we want to help them along that way, but Motherwell comes first.”
Alexander now has several new faces to work with heading into the season’s home stretch, Motherwell currently in 10th place. They ended a winless run last week against Ross County and have added Liam Kelly, Steven Lawless, Harry Smith, Sam Foley, Jordan Roberts and Eddie Nolan to the squad, with one more arrival due prior to Wednesday’s match with Dundee United.
It’s an encounter Alexander is looking forward to: “You can only win three points in one game but for us it has to count for more (the result v Ross County). In the bigger picture it has to be taken forward into a consistent run of results.
“That’s our aim. We don’t want to pick up sporadic results. We certainly have had a consistency in our performances. Not for full games, but for big chunks we have played some good football. There’s progression each time which we have to try and do again with Dundee United.”
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