Exeter City manager Gary Caldwell has told the BBC that top scorer Sam Nombe will not be sold by the club.
The 24-year-old has scored 27 goals in 79 appearances during his time in Devon, and he finished the latest campaign with 15 league goals, helping the Grecians to a mid-table finish in their first season back in the third tier.
After impressive performances, it has been reported fellow League One rivals Charlton Athletic are interested in the Croydon-born striker, with the Addiks making a £500,000 offer for the forward, however, Caldwell’s side are holding out for £1 million.
Rumours circulated last week on social media that Nombe had completed his move to The Valley, but Richard Cawley from the South London Press has clarified that there has been no agreement between the two clubs as of yet.
The former Luton Town loanee has a year left on his contract, after arriving for an undisclosed fee from MK Dons in July 2021.
Nombe had been at the Buckinghamshire-based club since he was a child, winning the Young Player of the Year award at Stadium MK during the 2019/20 season.
Exeter are also not in a desperate position to sell the 24-year-old, having recouped a seven-figure fee in recent weeks following the transfer of Ethan Ampadu from Chelsea to Leeds United.
The Welsh international, a product the Grecians’ academy, made the switch to the Blues at the age of 16. A total compensation package of up to £2.5 million was determined at tribunal, based on first-team appearances and future sale clauses.
What’s been said?
The 41-year-old was adamant that the highly-rated forward would not be leaving St James Park this season.
“We don’t have to sell anyone, he won’t be going anywhere this window or the next window for that matter,” the Scotsman told the BBC.
“He’s a very valuable player for the team for the squad, he was fantastic last season before I came in and when I came in, so he’s a massive part of the squad and he won’t be going anywhere.
“For a number nine he brings goals, but on top of that he brings a real physicality and a real outlet for us.”
Caldwell added: “The reality is he’s here and he’ll be here unless a huge offer comes in, and it would need to be a huge offer to get him.”
Charlton have already spent a reported £250,000 on forward Alfie May, and therefore may be reluctant to meet the lofty asking fee of £1 million, particularly for a player who only has one year remaining on his deal.
It’s good to see that Exeter are willing to play hardball to keep their best players at the club, and they’re under no financial pressure to sell, but they do risk losing their prized asset for free next summer. If the Grecians are in a comfortable position in the League One table come January, I suspect Caldwell’s stance may soften over the future of Sam Nombe.