It was perhaps one of the most protracted sagas in Northampton Town’s recent transfer history, so there may well have been a collective sigh of relief from all parties when Michael Jacobs finally completed his long-rumoured move to Derby County this week.
For the player himself, he now has the chance to go and showcase his undoubted talent in the Championship after agreeing a three-year contract with the Rams. For Northampton and boss Aidy Boothroyd, it means that he can now get on with the job of building his squad for the coming League Two season.
In the end, it all came down to agreeing a fee for out-of-contract midfielder Jacobs’ services due to him being under the age of 24. After one believed to be in the region of £450,000 – and no doubt including the usual appearance bonuses, sell-on clauses and the like – was settled on, it was simply a case of him agreeing terms.
For his part, Jacobs was relieved to have finally sorted out his future. “The move has been rumbling on for a little while now so it’s nice to get it in the bag and sorted out at last, and now I can look forward to getting my Derby career underway once and for all,” he said.
“This is the first transfer of my career so it had to be the right move for me. I didn’t want to step up to the Championship and not make an impact, but here at Derby I think I can fulfil my potential.
“After a couple of years at first team level in League Two I felt it was a challenge I couldn’t turn down because you never know when an opportunity like this might come around again, so I wanted to grasp it with both hands.”
Understandably, Northampton were keen to hold out for as much money as they could get for the player that came through the club’s youth system and has already made 100 appearances despite being only 20-years-old.
Manager Boothroyd and club chairman David Cardoza were prepared to take matters to a tribunal if necessary, but it did not come to that. Boothroyd is now turning his attention to bringing in some new players ahead of the team’s return to pre-season training next week.
“This news won’t come as a surprise to anybody after Michael turned his contract down,” he said. “We respect his wish to make the move and we wish him well in his future career.
“Now we move on and this gives us the opportunity to strengthen the squad further ahead of next season.”