AFC Wimbledon has agreed terms with Bradford City for the transfer of Jake Reeves.
Since arriving for a second spell at Wimbledon in January 2015, Jake has played a major part in the club's success by helping us to promotion at Wembley and making well over 100 appearances in the midfield engine room.
Though disappointed to lose a player of his talents, Neal Ardley saluted Jake's contribution and added that it was important do the right thing for him and the club.
"You do not want to lose your best players and it's probably even tougher when you do the work with someone like Tom Elliott and lose him for nothing to a big club," said Neal. "We have lost Jake, but for a fee, and that's a big plus for us. When you negotiate deals with players and you cannot offer them fortunes to stay, but you want them to commit, sometimes you have to give a little bit back. You cannot stop the opportunity for them to go somewhere if they really want to. In all of these cases we've done the right thing by the club and the player. In this case, if we had not done certain things, Jake could have gone on a free transfer at the end of this season,in a similar way to Tom.
"We've managed to do the right thing by Jake and the club. It's great that we brought in Jake and turned him into the player he is today in a few seasons, similar to what we did with Tom. Though you do not want to do it for other clubs, it shows potential signings that you can make a real mark in your career by joining us because it's such a great club.
"Jake was one of the first names on the team-sheet and he brought bundles of energy to the team. He wanted the ball all the time and linked things up. When he did not play, we missed him. We are disappointed to lose him. Let's not get away from the fact that he will leave huge boots to fill, but that is the staff's job to replace him and we will do our best on it."
Neal added that the search to boost his midfield options had started long before Bradford City's move to sign Jake.
"The task now is to go again and improve," said Neal. "In the past players have left and we've managed to move on and we will continue to try and do that. Though it's disappointing to lose players like Tom and Jake, the replacements we've brought in so far – Deji, Kwesi, and Cody – will enhance the quality of the squad.
"We are already down the line in that process (of finding a midfield replacement). It was a position that we were looking at anyway and we know what type we want. You may start seeing one or two players in pre-season games that we are taking a look at. Jake goes with our best wishes. He is a great lad, he very rarely had a bad game for us, but now we are looking forward to the next challenge."
Everyone at AFC Wimbledon thanks Jake for his contribution to the club and we wish him every success in his future career.