If the London Evening Standard is to be believed tonight, Glenn Roeder's transfer coffers could swell by up to ?1.5 million in the next three weeks as Spurs prepare to raid West Ham United for the services of ex-Canary striker Dean Ashton.
The 24-year-old left Carrow Road for Upton Park in 2006 – in a ?7.25 million deal that was reported to include a 15% sell-on for the classic English centre-forward.
According to tonight's Evening Standard it is that sell-on clause that is proving the stumbling block between the two clubs with the Hammers reported to be looking for nearer the ?20 million mark – as opposed to the ?15 million bid that they are reported to have already rejected for Ashton from their North London rivals.
Meet eachother half-way and do a deal around the ?17.5 million mark and City's sell-on clause would deliver a timely windfall of ?1.5 million as Roeder himself continues to roam that centre-forward market in the hope of pinning down someone to fill the last, glaring hole in his 2008-2009 armoury.
The Standard's argument makes logial reading. That despite having signed Ashton up on a new, fiver-year deal only two months ago, the East End club are under severe pressure to reduce their wage bill – as witnessed by this week's decision to let Freddie Ljungberg go and take his reported ?70,000 wage packet a week with him.
The fact that Ashton – for all his obvious potential – has made just 42 appearances for the Hammers since his switch to the capital may also enter Alan Curbishley's thinking; that he is injury-prone and he could do an awful lot with ?17 million plus. As, indeed, could the club's bankers.
From the White Hart Lane end of the equation, Spurs boss Juande Ramos is desperate to bolt fresh firepower into his own side after watching Robbie Keane disappear for Liverpool. He also has the whole Dimitar Berbatov situation to resolve.
The long-time Manchester United target was notable only by the fact that he was an unused substitute in the pre-season clash with the Canaries in which four-goal Darren Bent stole the show.
And with Spurs' lengthy pursuit of Euro2008 star Andrei Arshavin apparently now dead in the water, Ramos has turned his attentions to a player closer to home.
Certainly Ashton would arrive at The Lane in fine fettle after bagging a superb hat-trick in West Ham's 5-3 win over Ipswich Town on Monday night – a haul that took his summer tally to six goals in his last three pre-season outings.
An Ashton-Bent combination on the back of their mutual exploits in East Anglia this pre-season would have a potent look to it; the pair did, of course, play up-front together in their England Under-21 days.
Roeder would be utterly delighted for Ashton to switch East London for North London – if it deposited a ?1.5 million cheque into his hands.
Speaking after Saturday's 2-2 draw with Colchester United, it was clear that he still has his heart set on adding that elusive target man to his plans before this weekend's Championship opener away at Coventry City.
Were the Canary board in a position to see an unexpected Ashton windfall looming over the horizon then it might, just, persuade them to go that extra mile financially in the long and tortuous talks it would need to persuade Dennis Wise to part with Shola Ameobi at a price nearer to Norwich's way of thinking than Newcastle's.
Senior Norwich officials were bracing themselves for a tough week around the negotiating table as that quest to bolt 'the big man' into Norwich's line-up gained added urgency with the approach of the new season.
Any Ashton move could, therefore, strengthen their hand at just the right moment – or equally weaken it, if 'the opposition' knew that the Norfolk club now had rather more cash to play with.
At least the whole 'OJ' deal has now gone through; the 18-year-old Gambian will now be available to make his City debut at the Ricoh – one less piece or paperwork for Roeder to worry about before the big kick-off.
“That's why it is so important that we get clearance for OJ to play this week,” said Roeder, after the U's clash – his hopes now answered by the news from Fratton Park.
“With OJ being able to be involved as well, then we've got three strikers – unless we manage to get the big striker in this week that we've targetted.”
He knows he's close to joining up the last remaining dots.
“We're nearly there now,” he said, after one of the more furious summers on the transfer merry-go-round.
“It's not just me that's worked incredibly hard, but the people in the background have perhaps worked even harder than me to make these things happen.
“I've targetted players and Neil Doncaster has spent a lot of time on the phone making these transfers happen. And lots and lots of the phone calls that he's had to make have been very frustrating, but we're dogged people.
“We don't give in,” said Roeder, citing their six-week chase of playmaker Wes Hoolahan as one example of never taking 'No!' for an answer. Should Ameobi roll up in Norfolk, it would probably set a new record for a City transfer chase – Roeder was on the 26-year-old's case from virtually the moment he walked through the gates of Colney some nine, long months ago.
“There's many times – perhaps with Hoolahan – where we could have given in, but we didn't. It took six weeks to get his signature. Many times we thought we were there; many times the carpet was whipped from under our feet. But we kept going.
“We're not easily beaten – and that's the attitude of our players…”
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