BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Millwall manager Neil Harris is delighted to add Ryan Leonard to his squad – with the midfielder’s deadline day switch once again breaking the club’s record transfer spend.
The Lions paid £1million for Barnsley’s Tom Bradshaw towards the end of the window – the first time they have splashed seven figures for a player. But Leonard’s move from Sheffield United exceeds that although the exact fee has not been disclosed.
Initially both players are on loan but permanent transfers in January are already locked in.
“Lenny is a really good guy in the dressing room and a top professional,” said Harris, who played with the 26-year-old at Southend United. “He is a good age, very athletic and a winner.
“He fits our profile in everything we want to sign at the football club. He is a player we chased before in a couple of windows and we’ve finally got hold of him.”
Millwall’s record signing had been Paul Goddard from Derby County for £800,000 in 1989.
“There has been a real stigma around that at this football club,” said Harris. “It has hung over us all for a long period, even before I came in.
“But in terms of signing Championship players and ones who have excelled and been one of the best players in League One, it is small fees still.
“The outside world isn’t making a big thing out of it, because it isn’t a big thing. We have got good value with the signings of Lenny, Tom Bradshaw, Jiri Skalak and Murray Wallace.
“They [Wallace and Leonard] have been the best in their positions in League One the previous season, Tom has scored double figures in two Championship campaigns and Jiri has won this league [with Brighton]. That’s not forgetting Jem Karacan, who has also won this league [with Reading].”
Millwall have also set a new record for their biggest sale with George Saville joining Middlesbrough for a deal worth up to £8m.
“George has been a big player for us and a fantastic man,” said Harris, who signed the former Chelsea youngster from Wolves last summer in a deal that cost under £500,000.
“He has moved on to pastures new to chase his dream of the Premier League, which is fine. We have brought in players who can give long-term benefit to us.
“We’ve also managed to keep some that there has been interest in as well.
“Once we have had a bedding-in period I feel we will have a stronger squad than we’ve had in the past.”