Stockport County midfielder Nick Powell admitted there were possibilities for lucrative deals with Wrexham and Saudi Arabian clubs this summer, in a revealing interview with Sport Bible.
The 29-year-old raised eyebrows last month after he penned a three-year deal with League Two promotion hopefuls Stockport, following a near two-month period of being a free agent after his release from Championship side Stoke City at the end of last season.
In the weeks leading up to signing for Dave Challinor’s side, who suffered a heart-breaking penalty shootout defeat in the League Two play-off final, the former Manchester United player was linked with Hollywood-backed Wrexham and clubs in the Middle East.
A comprehensive and eye-opening interview discussed his time at the Red Devils, how Nathan Jones changed his life at Stoke City, as well as Powell’s struggles with injury.
The Crewe-born midfielder was Stoke’s Player of the Year in 2021, but after suffering persistent injuries throughout his career, he was in football limbo again after being released by the Potters at the end of the 2022/23 season.
Fellow fourth-tier side Wrexham were a potential destination, who have landed big names in the form of Ben Foster and Powell’s former Wigan Athletic team-mate James McClean until at least the end of the season.
But the former England U21 international cited the ambition shown at Edgeley Park as to the reason he chose Greater Manchester over North Wales.
What’s been said?
“I had a chat [with Wrexham],” the 29-year-old confirmed.
“It was a really good chat. I’d never say anything bad about somebody that showed interest in me. I think that’s just nice within itself. The conversation was good. I’ve got my reasons [for joining Stockport] and I still stand by them.”
There were also conversations around a move to the Saudi Pro League.
“Without going deep into it, you don’t know what’s what over there,” Powell said.
“I have loads of texts saying, go here, go there. I didn’t know if one was an agent. I didn’t know if he was a coach. I can’t really comment on it.
“I mean, if I was purely chasing money, I’d have happily gone. I’ve got no problem saying that. If I was gonna get £10 million like everyone else, you best believe I’d have been there. But no, there were conversations. There just wasn’t anything concrete.”
“It’s perspective, isn’t it?” he said when asked about those who doubted his move to the Hatters.
“They can have their thoughts on it. I don’t know. For me, it was right. I could have happily stayed in certain leagues or gone somewhere else. I know my reasons. It doesn’t bother me.
“I’ve read things where they say, ‘Oh he’s got no ambition. He’s lazy’ and I think, well, if I fail in League Two then I’ve killed myself on that front.”
Only time will tell whether he has made the correct choice to join Dave Challinor’s side. Many including ourselves at The Real EFL had the Hatters as favourites to reach League One this season, but they have had a tough start to this year’s campaign, with defeats to Gillingham and Walsall, as well as the penalty shootout loss in the first round of the Carabao Cup.
In the extended interview, it is clear to see that Powell is beginning to prepare for life outside of the game, and I don’t think anyone could begrudge him for taking a move to Saudi Arabia if there was concrete interest on the table, in a deal which would have hugely financially benefitted his young family.