Championship: Kieran Agard's move to Bristol City surprises Rotherham boss Steve Evans
Last Updated: 22/08/14 5:08pm
Kieran Agard's decision to join Bristol City ahead of Leeds has surprised Rotherham boss Steve Evans.
Agard, who scored 26 goals as the Millers won promotion to the Championship last season, left on Thursday to sign for the Robins after they met a valuation of almost £1million for the 24-year-old, ending a summer-long saga regarding his future.
Leeds also agreed a fee last week, but following talks with the West Yorkshire club Agard decided against a move there and returned to the Millers fold for last weekend's win over Wolves.
City had a first bid rejected several weeks ago but, renewed their interest and agreed terms with Agard, who penned a three-year deal at Ashton Gate.
But choosing the League One club over Leeds caused Evans to raise an eyebrow.
"I'm surprised. Wow. In terms of Leeds United, when you drop a division and go to Bristol City instead, and this is no disrespect to Bristol City, I'm surprised," said Evans.
"They have a great owner, great supporters and are a fantastic club at League One level.
"I just find it surprising you would turn down a household, worldwide name like Leeds United and go to Bristol City.
"I'm surprised he would turn down a club like Leeds with their profile and fan base and historical values.
"You could go to Africa and says 'Leeds' and people would know Leeds United."
The Millers, who signed Agard on a free transfer in 2012, triggered a clause in his contract at the end of last season to keep him at New York until 2014 and entered discussions over a new long-term deal at the club.
But Evans has revealed they were told by Agard's representatives that there would be no chance of him staying in South Yorkshire.
"Kieran's representatives made it clear from the day after Wembley that under no circumstances would they entertain him staying here," he added. "So if that's been the case than you obviously have to release the value on that player and that's what we've done.
"We had to get the right price. And that has been matched.
"When you're getting a transfer fee that is very near to £1million that is guaranteed - not never, never - with additional plusses added to that then it's great value for Rotherham United.
"The biggest factor for me is, and I say this to every player, if you do not want to be a Rotherham United then do us a favour, get on the train and leave town.
"We don't want you, if you don't want to be here. We want people to come in and live and breathe this project. Kieran did.
"But Kieran obviously wanted to go somewhere else and we wish him success. He's a smashing kid and he's joined a good manager and a good football club. But to take step down to League One, he must think he's doing that for only 12 months.
"You're talking to a manager who took a step down to come to Rotherham because of his belief in the bigger picture. We'll see if that bigger picture is bigger for Kieran."