Warnock willing to let Norwich have Lee - for a price

Michael Bailey Crystal Palace manager Neil Warnock has issued a 'come and get him' plea to Bryan Gunn over his want-away striker Alan Lee. The former Ipswich frontman enjoyed a successful seven-game stay on loan at Carrow Road at the end of last season, scoring two goals that were unable to keep Norwich City in the Championship.

Michael Bailey

Crystal Palace manager Neil Warnock has issued a 'come and get him' plea to Bryan Gunn over his want-away striker Alan Lee.

The former Ipswich frontman enjoyed a successful seven-game stay on loan at Carrow Road at the end of last season, although his two goals could not prevent Norwich City slipping out the Championship.

But despite relegation, Lee's time at Norwich was long enough to convince the 30-year-old his future lies in canary yellow - something acknowledged by Warnock.


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“Alan has his heart set on a move to Norwich,” said the Palace boss. “I've spoken to Bryan Gunn and told him to make a bid for Alan if he wants him.”

There is no doubt Lee would be an excellent addition for a squad light on big, bustling strikers and aiming to battle its way through a first third-tier campaign in 49 years - Gunn has said as much by admitting his desire to capture the Republic of Ireland striker on a permanent deal.

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But the make up of that deal, and how much the player's wishes play a part, are likely to be the subject of many a discussion between now and August.

Gunn's transfer kitty has recently been boosted by �700,000 thanks to the rebate waivers and a cheque from director Michael Foulger - money that could well be burning a hole in the Norwich manager's pocket as he looks for new recruits.

However money is tight at Carrow Road and - no matter what Alan Lee demands �- the situation at Selhurst Park is not much different.

Palace still owe City's fierce rivals Ipswich Town part of the �600,000 they shelled out for Lee's signature last summer and are not about to let him leave for nothing.

Add to that their own lack of strikers, with fellow ex-Town striker Shefki Kuqi destined for pastures new, and the incentives for Warnock to cut his losses are thin on the ground.

Something more workable could be a swap deal - Wes Hoolahan as a makeweight has been a regular speculation since before the summer.

However, the former Blackpool man is understood to be happy where he is - so long as City can afford to keep him - and with Gunn already short on attacking options, gaining one in Lee only to lose another may not take his fancy.

Two unnamed Championship clubs are said to be keeping tabs on Lee's situation, but at present the striker has only one destination on his mind.

While a deal for Lee is still some way off, it is understood City are closing in on a couple of new signings this week, one of which is believed to be a new goalkeeper.

New professional Declan Rudd is currently the only full-time keeper on the club's books, following the sale of David Marshall to Cardiff.

The future of last season's deputy, Stuart Nelson, remains in doubt, with the keeper out of contract this summer and still recovering from an ankle operation.

A season-long loan for Birmingham City keeper Colin Doyle has been one suggested move for Gunn, after the Premier League side secured Joe Hart on loan for next season from Manchester City.

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