City linked with McSheffrey

PUBLISHED: 14:14 09 January 2006 | UPDATED: 09:07 14 September 2010

Norwich City today found themselves approaching the eye of January's transfer storm with the thin line between football fact and total fiction becoming increasingly blurred as speculation hit fever pitch.

Norwich City today found themselves approaching the eye of January's transfer storm with the thin line between football fact and total fiction becoming increasingly blurred as speculation hit fever pitch.

On Saturday it was all about Dean Ashton, not City's 2-1 FA Cup defeat by West Ham United. His absence with a groin strain prompting a fresh and frantic round of “He's gone then . . .” talk.

Now the next name on everyone's lips is Coventry striker Gary McSheffrey. At least City's interest in the 23-year-old was rather more believable than, for example, “news” of Ashton stepping off a plane in Glasgow to sign for Celtic - particularly when it came with an official confirmation attached.

“Gary McSheffrey is a player that we like and one that we've made a phone call about, but that's as far as it's gone,” said City boss Nigel Worthington today, with Charlton boss Alan Curbishley adding to the general air of fun and games by appearing to rule himself out of the running for goalkeeper Robert Green.

Yet, according to weekend reports, the Addicks were dangling a £1.5 million plus Kevin Lisbie carrot in front of Norwich's face.

“I'm not in the market for another goalkeeper - I've got three already,” said Curbishley after the South London side booked their place in the FA Cup fourth round with a 4-2 at Sheffield Wednesday.

Continued speculation that Dean Kiely may be Wigan-bound could yet change that position again. Antti Niemi's move to Fulham also ensures that Curbishley's interest in the Southampton keeper has ended.

As for McSheffrey, he could yet fall in the Cameron Jerome bracket of a player who needs a big money move out of Norwich to happen before Worthington is in a position to move.

He certainly looked the part with his opening strike in City's 2-2 draw at the Ricoh Arena recently. Despite Coventry being £26 million in debt, acting chairman Geoffrey Robinson has assured boss Micky Adams that he has no financial need to sell - ensuring that the Canaries may yet have to pay top dollar for McSheffrey, whose 10 goals this season leave him leading Coventry's scoring charts.

As ever, all roads lead back to Ashton and whether the likes of Wigan, West Ham, Manchester City and Portsmouth are ever going to come up with a cash bid.

Immediately after Saturday's low-key FA Cup exit, Worthington was busily insisting that there was nothing untoward in Ashton's absence. It was simply a straightforward groin strain - not that he was expecting too many people to believe him in the fevered atmosphere that accompanies the transfer window.

“The speculation doesn't surprise me - that's what the transfer window does,” said Worthington, with a Portsmouth radio station reported as actually confirming that the two clubs had agreed a £7 million fee - only to change its tune before the afternoon was out.

“It's a crazy situation which unsettles players, supporters and football clubs. Dean is on a long-term contract and - I pick my words carefully - unless a crazy offer comes in then he will be staying at this football club.”

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