Motherwell manager Mark McGhee has revealed that the Steelmen wanted Celtic hitman Nadir Ciftci to join Scott McDonald and Louis Moult in a potential three pronged attack.
’Well failed in a bid to land Ciftci on loan until this summer during a dramatic end to the January transfer window last night.
But they did manage to hold onto hot properties McDonald and Moult, despite significant interest from clubs in the UK and abroad.
McGhee told the Motherwell Times: “At the beginning, our interest in Ciftci was a contingency plan if Scotty or Moulty left.
“But it was more about Scotty because there was real interest in him from Australia.
“When we realised Scotty was staying we tried to sign Ciftci in the midnight hour but by then it was too late.
“I have spoken to Ciftci’s agent this morning and he is very disappointed and the boy (Ciftci) is very disappointed.
“We could probably have done the Ciftci deal while keeping McDonald and Moult. We had a little bit of flexibility but it didn’t happen.
“People were talking to different clubs and we didn’t get him.
“I think signing Ciftci would have strengthened us but it focuses the mind on Ryan Bowman. And we have still to see Jacob Blyth, who I still hold high hopes for.
“There’s a possibility Blyth could be on the bench against Hearts this Saturday.”
Motherwell fans have undoubtedly been boosted by holding onto top scorers McDonald and Moult – who both scored in the 2-1 win at Ross County last night – in this window.
Reports had linked Moult with a move away to either Crystal Palace or Rangers, but McGhee said no bids had been received last night for the 24-year-old.
“There were no bids turned down for Louis Moult, which astonishes me but delights me by the same token,” he added.
“There was a possibility that Scott could have gone to Australia, but that’s behind us now.
“His performance against Ross County last night showed us Scott’s commitment to the club.
“When we go into other managers’ offices after games, normally the first thing they do is praise McDonald and Moult.
“But you don’t win games without a team ethic. That is just as important.
“Big Mick (Stephen McManus) was brilliant at Ross County, Stevie Hammell was excellent and Keith Lasley was excellent having been left out on Saturday.
“We have a good strong squad now and I’ll use it the best I can.”
McGhee said that, for the first time since he returned to Motherwell in October 2015, he and the club’s board had not been praying for bids to come in for their players as the finances are healthy.
He said that he’d already spoken to Moult’s agent with a view to getting the popular English forward to sign a contract extension with ’Well.
“We are on the case,” he said.
Negotiations will also need to open up with McDonald to stay as his contract expires this summer.