BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Neil Harris has admitted that Millwall’s sale of George Saville made financial sense – but that he would have loved to still have the Northern Ireland international in his team.
The midfielder joined Middlesbrough in an £8million deal on deadline day, although initially it is a loan move with a guaranteed deal in January.
That is easily the biggest sale the Lions have ever made. Saville cost under £500,000 when he was signed from Wolves last summer.
Harris said: “From a business perspective, George had to go.
“The amount of money offered is ridiculous. From the business perspective, good business by us.
“John [Berylson, owner] bought him for peanuts and sold him for millions and millions. As a manager, of course I’d have loved to keep George – he did fantastically well for me.
“But once a player gets his head turned and wants to leave, it’s difficult to keep somebody. No complaints about that. We acted in the market, thinking about George going, bringing in Tom Bradshaw and Ryan Leonard.
“Ryan is a person and a player I know really well. When I talk about mentality he has got a winning mentality and he’s a warrior. I look forward to working with Tom and Ryan.
“George is a brilliant lad, I had a really good relationship with George and when clubs like Middlesbrough, with the financial clout they have got and are able to take players at any price we set – it’s difficult to keep somebody.
“Expectation has risen at this football club because of how we over-achieved last year. But we have to be realistic about where we are. We are in the bottom three teams budget-wise and what we can pay individuals, if not lower than the bottom three.
“If players gets the chance to move on, we have to secure the best deal for our football club and we certainly did that.”
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