Pompey aim to net Green
RICK WAGHORN The long-expected transfer storm today duly broke over Norwich City's heads today as the Canaries fended off a clutch of inquiries for Dean Ashton and found Robert Green's name widely linked to a switch to Portsmouth.
The long-expected transfer storm today duly broke over Norwich City's heads today as the Canaries fended off a clutch of inquiries for Dean Ashton and found Robert Green's name widely linked to a switch to Portsmouth.
West Ham United were first out of the blocks on the Ashton front with 'The Sun' claiming that City's FA Cup opponents on Saturday had formally lodged a £5 million bid for Norwich's England Under-21 star - way below Norwich's valuation on the player.
“Crazy money” is what it will take City boss Nigel Worthington to part with his prized strike asset he insisted this weekend, not a paltry £5 million.
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Over at 'The Star' and Pompey boss Harry Redknapp was reported to be switching his attentions to Green having apparently dropped out of the Ashton race after being allegedly quoted a figure of £7 million for the 22-year-old's signature.
Portsmouth's cause, claimed the paper, was helped by the knowledge that City's England international keeper was “desperate to get back to the Premiership” to further his England World Cup hopes - a lever that Pompey hoped might force Norwich to the negotiating table and to drop their price to below the £2 million mark if they knew the 25-year-old himself felt it was now time to end his 13-year association with the Norfolk club.
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Canary chief executive Neil Doncaster toady refused to be drawn into specifics regarding either player - ever mindful that City have actually got to a vital Championship game at Plymouth Argyle looming this weekend.
Alas, however, the trip to Home Park is likely to play second, if not third fiddle to the furious speculation regarding Ashton and Green's respective futures.
“We've received a number of approaches from a number of clubs for Dean Ashton - none of which have led to an acceptable bid being received,” said Doncaster.
“And I don't think it is helpful to talk about the specifics of any club or any one bid.”
West Ham merely add their name to a length list of Ashton admirers with Manchester City, Charlton Athletic, Birmingham City and Wigan Athletic all being mentioned in the past.
As for Green, sources close to the Carrow Road hierarchy insisted that no contact had yet been had with either Redknapp, chief executive Peter Storrie or the club's co-owner Milan Mandaric.
The latter, in particular, is a big Green fan having had a public dabble in the summer - a claim that was, at the time, vigorously denied by Doncaster.
“We were trying to see if Green would be available and for what money,” said Mandaric in June. “We asked Norwich and they told us they would sell him for £2.5 million.”
Doncaster's summer response was suitably robust. “This is totally inaccurate,” said Doncaster. “We have had no contact with Portsmouth whatsoever about Robert.”
What may have changed is Green's own attitude to a switch as he fights Chris Kirkland for that third ticket to Germany and needs that Premiership platform to do it. Likewise Pompey's cash position has been changed completely be the arrival of 30-year-old Russian businessman Sacha Gaydamak whose spending spree was set to continue today with a £7.5 million swoop for three Spurs players - Sean Davis, Noe Pamarot and Pedro Mendes.
Middlesbrough's want-away keeper mark Schwarzer is also understood to be in the running for the Pompey No1 slot, but at £2.2 million and 33-years-old price and age could both favour Redknapp going Green.