Loan looks only option for Lita

David Cuffley Norwich City's only hope of retaining the services of striker Leroy Lita is likely to be a loan extension to the end of the season.Manager Glenn Roeder said last night he did not believe any club could afford to pay Reading's asking price for a player who will be out of contract at the end of the season.

David Cuffley

Norwich City's only hope of retaining the services of striker Leroy Lita is likely to be a loan extension to the end of the season.

Manager Glenn Roeder said last night he did not believe any club could afford to pay Reading's asking price for a player who will be out of contract at the end of the season.

But he said the Canaries were working hard to keep Lita, who was 24 yesterday, on loan until May.


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Said Roeder: “With Leroy, we would very much like to keep him. Reading know that and we will be working on that over the next couple of days.

“He can stay on a second half of the season loan - we would like to do that and Reading know that. Whether we can achieve that we will have to wait and see, but we will certainly be working hard on trying to make that happen and, having spoken to Leroy a few times in the last week or so, he would very much like to stay.

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“The club are being very supportive in trying to make that happen.

“Of course we would like him to stay. The squad at the moment is very, very lightweight to say the least, everyone knows that.”

Unconfirmed reports suggest Reading are willing to offload Lita for £500,000 in January but Roeder would not disclose the asking price for a player who has scored seven times in 16 games for the Canaries.

“I am certainly not at liberty to tell you the sort of money they are looking for,” he said. “The sort of money they are looking for would make it very difficult for anybody, not just us, anybody to buy him on a permanent deal because really he has only got four and a half months before he is a Bosman. He was 24 today, so at the end of the season he could potentially leave Reading for nothing.

“With the economic climate at the moment in football as much as anywhere, you'd find it very hard to get anybody to raise the sort of money that Reading are looking for for someone who's a free transfer in four and a half months' time. That's financial common sense.

“They've told me what they're looking for and I couldn't see anybody paying the sort of money they're looking for, for four and a half months.”

Roeder hopes to be able to bring in two or three new faces in January.

He said: “When you look at injuries, a couple of loan players that have gone back, we are down to about 14 outfield players. We need to increase that to as many as we can, but I'm not silly, I know the situation. We won't be able to get in five or six but hopefully we will be able to get in two or three.”

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