Town reject second QPR Judge bid with Irishman keen to talk to the Championship side
PUBLISHED: 11:32 22 July 2019 | UPDATED: 13:29 22 July 2019
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Ipswich Town have rejected a second offer from Queens Park Rangers for Alan Judge, with the playmaker understood to be keen to hold talks with the Championship side.
The second bid, believed to be worth in the region of £450,000, follows an opening offer of around £250,000 last week, described by Town boss Paul Lambert as being 'absolutely nowhere near the level' the Blues would consider accepting.
While Judge has not asked to leave Portman Road and will not look to force an exit, the combination of a potential return to the Championship, working with R's boss Mark Warburton again and the chance to remain living in West London is understood to appeal to the Republic of Ireland international.
It's understood he would be interested in talking to Rangers but any departure is now dependant on the two clubs agreeing a fee, with the Suffolk side keen to keep hold of a player who figures to be central to their plans.
It's also understood there is no automatic release clause in the two-year contract Judge signed in April.
The Loftus Road club's interest in the 30-year-old became apparent soon after the appointment of Warburton as manager, who was in charge of Brentford during Judge's time there.
The sale of Luke Freeman to Sheffield United for a fee approaching £5million means the Rangers boss is in the market for a playmaker, with Warburton identifying Judge as his prime target.
The Irishman signed a new two-year deal with the Blues in April and is set to be a centrepiece of Lambert's side as they bid to win promotion from League One.
That, understandably, means the Town boss is keen to hold onto one of his leading lights.
"I know everything that's going on," Lambert said when asked about QPR's interest in Judge.
"If you think people are going to leave the football club for a value that, in my opinion, is absolutely nowhere near the level (then you're wrong).
"Ok, so if we give him to QPR then who do we go and get in? At this time? It's nowhere near it and that's the state of play.
"Everybody has a value, absolutely, but there has to be some realism with it. We can't just turn round and say 'there you go'."
When asked if Judge is happy at Portman Road, Lambert said: "The football club got him going again and helped him play consecutive games and he did well for us.
"That's important for him as well because the club gave him a great opportunity. He did well for us and the club's done well for him, it's a two-way thing.
"Just because we're in League One we're not going to let him walk out the door. No chance."