Shakers striker signs three-year contract at Bramall Lane
Striker Leon Clarke has joined Sheffield United on a three-year deal after the Blades improved their fourth offer for the player.
Leon joined the Shakers on a free transfer during June 2015 after being released by Wolverhampton Wanderers. He quickly became a fans favourite amongst the Gigg Lane faithful and commenced the season in fine form with four goals in four games, including a brace against one of his former clubs Wigan Athletic.
Leon would only spend one season as a Shaker, making 37 appearances but also scoring a total of 17 goals. Injuries and personal problems prevented him from increasing that tally and he finished the season by being named the Shakers Players Player of the season.
Manager David Flitcroft expressed his disappointment at losing Leon but explained the circumstances behind it. “As already has been reported, Sheffield United originally came to us with an offer that we feel didn’t represent the players value and worth.
"Once Leon expressed an interest in speaking to Sheffield Utd we had to make sure we got the best possible deal for the football club, which I believe we have achieved. Leon came to us 12 months ago on a free transfer and leaves us after Sheffield United matched our valuation of the player. This undisclosed deal represents a fantastic profit for the club in just 12 months.
“Leon is a fantastic goalscorer at this level and I feel privileged to have worked with him over this last season. We got him to a level where he was enjoying his football and scoring goals again. It is very difficult when a club the size of Sheffield United makes your player their number 1 target, as it is very difficult for us to compete with their financial power."
“It is a situation that I have had to deal with as the manager of Bury Football Club and whilst we tried everything to convince Leon to stay with us, once his mind was made up I have dealt with it in the best interests of the club."
“I would like to thank Leon personally for his efforts whilst working with us and wish him and his family well in his future as he takes this next step in his career."
Leon Clarke explained the reasoning behind his decision to move to Sheffield United by adding:
“Unfortunately I have made the decision to leave Bury, I have been made very welcome from day one and have really enjoyed my football during the course of last season.”
“The manager was very open and honest about Sheffield United’s interest and it must have been difficult for him as I know he desperately wanted to keep me and worked tirelessly trying to convince me to stay."
“The decision was made more difficult due to the relationships I have forged with the Chairman, the board of directors, the manager, staff, players and also the fantastic fans. I have had a difficult 12 months personally and I have never experienced the level of support I received from everyone connected to the football club and this helped me maintain my focus on the field.”
“The challenge of playing at a big club again who are promotion favourites were ultimately the major factors in my decision to want to join Sheffield United.”
“I found it difficult to tell the manager of my decision due to his commitment to me. He really tried everything possible to keep me but my mind was made up and I am now looking forward to next season with Sheffield United.
“Finally I would like to thank everyone at Bury Football Club and wish them well this season.”