Worthington eyes Cardiff striker
RICK WAGHORN The first of City's potential transfer window swoops emerged today as Canary boss Nigel Worthington confirmed his interest in Cardiff City's England Under-21 prospect Cameron Jerome.
The first of City's potential transfer window swoops emerged today as Canary boss Nigel Worthington confirmed his interest in Cardiff City's England Under-21 prospect Cameron Jerome.
The 19-year-old has proved one of the Championship's hottest young prospects after grabbing his 13th goal of the season in the Bluebirds' 5-1 thrashing at the hands of runaway leaders Reading on Monday.
According to reports in South Wales, he has at least three Premiership clubs on his tail - Liverpool, West Ham United and Charlton - but so far the Canaries are the only club to openly reveal their hand. He does, after all, fit Worthington's “young and hungry” billing to an absolute 'T'. He has also just broken into the England Under-21 set-up and is therefore well known to both Dean Ashton and his ex-Cardiff City colleague, Peter Thorne.
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“Cameron Jerome is one that we've made an initial inquiry about,” confirmed Worthington today.
“He's a player that we very much like, but for now that's as far as it's gone. He would be a very useful addition to our current squad.”
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The one stumbling block is likely to be the price with Bluebirds boss Dave Jones insisting that £2 million would be a mere “down payment” on his young gun when quizzed about Charlton's reported interest after the Reading defeat.
“Would £2 million be enough?” said Jones. “You must be kidding. That's nothing more than a down payment.
“Every player has his price, but in Cameron's case it's not £2 million. That is what I have seen quoted, but you must be kidding if you think we'd sell Cameron for £2 million. We haven't had any offers at all, but it would have to be in excess of that figure.”
Whether or not Cardiff could hold out for that price is the player himself set his heart on a move elsewhere is one thing; whether the Canaries could raise that sort of cash without a major, out-going move of their own is another thing.
The whole Ashton saga actually took another intriguing twist today with news of Portsmouth's reported interest in signing the prized Canary hitman.
Wigan Athletic, West Ham United, Charlton and Manchester City have all been touted as possible destinations, but with the Canaries appearing determined to hold firm on their valuation City have yet to see the colour of anyone's money.
Pompey's coffers have, however, dramatically changed over the last 72 hours after the revelation that the son of a Russian billionaire, Alexandre Gaydamak, has taken a 50 per cent share in the South Coast club at a cost of £15 million and will now be the club's joint owner alongside chairman Milan Mandaric.
Reports in Portsmouth suggest that the 30-year-old businessman has promised boss Harry Redknapp a £70 million war chest - although some of that is understood to be ear-marked for further development of the club's ageing Fratton Park home as well as improving Pompey's training facilities.
Nevertheless, the Gaydamak money would put Ashton within Portsmouth's reach with Redknapp desperate to start wheeling and dealing his way out of trouble following his second coming at Pompey.
“If we are to survive in the Premiership we need to strengthen the squad,” said Pompey skipper Dejan Stefanovic. “That's obviously a job for Harry to sort out and hopefully he can bring a couple of quality players to the club.”
Redknapp has already started to rebuild his struggling Portsmouth side with French bad-boy Laurent Robert heading for talks with Benfica.