Russell Martin has revealed that MK Dons rejected a late Deadline Day bid from a Championship club for striker Cameron Jerome.
The Dons completed the double signing of Zak Jules and Will Grigg prior to Monday’s 11pm deadline but came close to losing their top goalscorer, Jerome, after a late offer was submitted for his services.
“We turned down a bid for Cammy on Deadline Day which is why he didn’t start on Tuesday,” Martin said in his pre-match press conference. “He didn’t refuse to play but he wasn’t in the right place to start a game.
“Cammy came back from Turkey in the summer and didn’t have the offers he thought he might have. We gave him the opportunity to play in a style of football that suits him, and in a team that creates lots of chances for him. It fitted him and it has worked really well.
“Because of how well he’s done, he’s attracted interest. The interest was strong but very late and we couldn’t just let one of our top performers go without having the opportunity to replace him.
“It might have been different if we had, had time to replace Cammy but we didn’t. We didn’t want to lose him but when an offer comes in for him to play for a team who are competing to get out of the Championship, then it’s difficult. If it had come in earlier, who knows.”
Martin continued: “It was a dramatic deadline day but ultimately we’ve been able to keep hold of him and that’s a positive for us.
“Cammy understands the situation form our point of view and he appreciates the opportunity he’s been given here. He wants to kick on now and continue performing.
“If he keeps doing that, I’m sure there will be interest in him again for the summer. We haven’t discussed next season with him yet because this was just about him coming in and enjoying his football again.
“He’s come in and had a real impact and we’ll wait and see what happens. If he continues performing, then hopefully we can continue to enjoy working together.”
Jerome has been joined in the striking department by Will Grigg, who sealed a return to Stadium MK in the final hour of the January Transfer Window.
Due to the terms of his loan deal, the Northern Ireland international won’t be able to feature against his parent club Sunderland this weekend – much to the frustration of his manager, who is eager to see what he can do while back in an MK Dons shirt.
“It’s very frustrating (that he can’t play),” Martin said. “He’s looked razor sharp in training this week and he’s come in really enthusiastic and really hungry.
“It would have been nice to have him involved on Saturday, but we’ll have to wait until Tuesday - that will only make him even more hungry, I’m sure. I’m really excited by Griggy and what he’ll bring us.”
Fellow Deadline Day signing Zak Jules is eligible to play, however, and Martin is confident his new defender will bolster the backline and add a different dimension to fellow left-footer Dean Lewington.
“They have completely different attributes, and they can also both play in different positions, so they can definitely play together.”
“I know Deano will try and help Zak – that’s the professional Dean is. Zak will embrace that and be better for that.”
MK Dons take on Sunderland this Saturday at Stadium MK, looking to make it five wins from seven matches in Sky Bet League One. Kick-off is at 3pm.
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