Peterborough United chairman expects Jonson Clarke-Harris to score enough goals to write his own transfer ticket in January

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Chairman Darragh MacAnthony is confident Peterborough United won’t lose out financially despite the proposed transfer of striker Jonson Clarke-Harris to Bristol Rovers collapsing late on transfer deadline day.

MacAnthony used Thursday’s edition of his ‘Hard Truth’ podcast to put more flesh on the bones of the Clarke-Harris transfer saga after manager Darren Ferguson’s eloquent summary of events over the weekend.

Jonson Clarke-Harris. Photo: Joe Dent/ Clarke-Harris. Photo: Joe Dent/
Jonson Clarke-Harris. Photo: Joe Dent/

MacAnthony confirmed a fee of £800k plus £250k in achievable add ons had been agreed with Rovers who were one of three clubs interested in signing a 29 year-old double ‘golden boot’ winner.

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Wrexham and Charlton were the others, but only Rovers made bids.

MacAnthony believes Clarke-Harris will now leave London Road in January, but only after he’s plundered more goals in a Posh shirt.

“When a player has a disappointment like this he can go one of two ways,” MacAnthony said. “He can sulk or he can get his head down, score 15 goals before Christmas and bring three or more clubs to the transfer table.

Posh chairman Darragh MacAnthony with Jonson Clarke-Harris after promotion was achieved in May, 2021.Posh chairman Darragh MacAnthony with Jonson Clarke-Harris after promotion was achieved in May, 2021.
Posh chairman Darragh MacAnthony with Jonson Clarke-Harris after promotion was achieved in May, 2021.

"And I know Jonno. He will say ‘**** ‘em’ and if he scores goals he will be writing his own transfer ticket for January.

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"And I will get my money for him. People say I won’t, but I got £1.2 million for Dembele four months before his contract was going to expire.

"Clubs will get to January and, for example, if they are challenging for a promotion they didn’t expect, they will pay for a proven goalscorer.

"The deal to Rovers should have been done. They first bid £300k with only £100k down on Wednesday (two days before transfer deadline) which I didn’t even respond to, not for a player of Jonno’s ilk. I just laughed at it.

“I was then told they were going to bid £500k and I told them not to waste my time because I wouldn’t entertain that. I told them what I wanted and how I wanted it paid. I even compromised on how it was paid and, fair play to them, they actually bid a club record fee and the deal was agreed at 6pm on deadline day.

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"They had five hours to get it done and it didn’t happen. Everything moved too slowly. We were in touch with them and even had our secretary draw up the transfer paperwork which is normally done by the buying club. We did all we could, but at 11.01pm the deal still hadn’t been registered and I knew it wasn’t happening.

"It’s a shame for Jonno as I understand why he wanted to go there. Joey Barton would have been a great manager for him.

"And to be fair to Bristol Rovers they apologised to me by text the next day. I had negotiated with Wael (al-Qadi) their former owner who still has a chunk of the club and I have always got on well with him.

"And Rovers were the only ones to make an acceptable bid. Wrexham contacted me and said they were going to make a bid which was interesting. It might have seemed a strange move for the player, but if they got him it would probably mean back-to-back promotions for them so I could see the logic.

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"Apparently Hollywood had approved the move, but then they just went quiet. They never came back to me which was a surprise, especially whan I saw who they eventually tried to sign.

"There are no real winners in the whole saga, but if there is a winner it’s us because we still have a prolific goalscorer in our squad who other clubs will covet. We now have more strikers in our squad than we expected, but we have an experienced manager who will deal with it.”

Clarke-Harris is out of contract at Posh at the end of the current season when he would be entitled to leave on a free transfer.

He was left out of the Posh squad beaten at Portsmouth last weekend.