There it was in Nahki Wells’ own words on Thursday. The Bermuda international striker wished to go out on loan this season for more first team chances.
Speaking to the Bernews outlet, the 31-year-old explained that he just wanted to play football, with just five league starts made this Championship season so far, from 29 matches.
“It did push me to a place where I thought, ‘If I can go out [on loan] and play, I’ll do it. It didn’t transpire. The club had other thoughts, and I accepted that,” said the forward this week.
“We’re footballers at heart, and we’re at our happiest when we’re playing and doing well. I entertained it, and the club knew my wishes respectfully, but nothing came of it because of their approach to not wanting to lose me and because they would need to replace me.
“I’ll just get my head down and keep working hard,” he added.
Cardiff City and Swansea City had made well publicised loan offers for the forward, with Middlesbrough linked too.
But the Robins would not contemplate a move unless it allowed them to recruit a replacement.
Likewise, Birmingham Live reported that an offer for Jay Dasilva had been turned away by City last month too.
And the same story is true of Kasey Palmer as well. There was interest in the midfield playmaker and talks took place regarding a move elsewhere, but nothing was finalised.
Bristol City weighed up whether to let Palmer move on, but the player was only interested in a permanent move elsewhere after five Championship loans previously. A loan with an obligation to buy may have been considered in the last days but that did not come to the fore either.
Bristol World understands that a move elsewhere in the Championship broke down in the last weeks of the January window, with Birmingham City very keen but ultimately recruiting Juninho Bacuna from Rangers instead.
City initially spurned interest, with the club confident that a deal would come late in the window that matched the terms they wanted.
That didn’t happen, but at the same time the West Country outfit would not want to lose too many midfielders currently, with Tyreeq Bakinson having been loaned to Ipswich Town and with Matty James and Andy King injured too, and Joe Williams being reintegrated into the side.
Palmer was due to play in the U23s originally on Tuesday but withdrew late, with the 25-year-old set to play alongside exciting young talent Ayman Benarous. It may have been a chance to press his claims for senior inclusion, and his time may come again in a red shirt later this year.
But Wells did play for Micky Bell’s second-string team, demonstrating that he is a class above that level of the game, netting twice and showing that City have riches in attack currently.
And so the “high earners”, a term that manager Nigel Pearson made reference to in January, remain at the club, and the opportunity to move some on has disappeared for now.
A strong line was drawn, strength in depth is retained and maybe the summer will offer new opportunities, even if the wage bill was not reduced in the last days.
“I don’t envisage us doing business that helps other teams, I’m not bothered about that,” said Pearson at the beginning of January, and he was true to his word.