Christophe Berra could still depart Ipswich Town this summer, admits Mick McCarthy
Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy admits Christophe Berra may possibly play his last game for the club on Sunday.
The Scottish defender is approaching the final few months of his contract and, despite saying last week that the club would be taking up a 12 month extension clause in his deal, McCarthy now says it’s not certain Berra will stay.
Berra has made no secret of the fact he would like to move nearer to his native Edinburgh to be closer to his young daughter.
Asked if Sunday’s season-finale at Nottingham Forest could be the rugged centre-back’s last game for the club, McCarthy replied: “Possibly. That (option) has not been taken up.
“Look, it’s been widely known that Christophe has got a desire to be back up in Edinburgh because of his daughter. I met her on the pitch after Saturday’s game and I said to him ‘I can see why you want to go back’.
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“Him and (owner) Marcus (Evans) are still discussing that. Put it this way, I wouldn’t want to keep a player that wasn’t happy. But we all know that if we did take up his option then Christophe wouldn’t down tools, he’d came back and probably still be the best defender.”
McCarthy continued: “We have to give him his letter, to take up his option, by the end of May.
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“People don’t always like those options, but I think Marcus (Evans) has been double shrewd and clever.
“Had we been relegated we’d have still had that option and their wages are seriously cut.
“I think it’s a great motivating tool. When you’re coming to the end of the season, and I pretty much saw this when I first came here, there are one or two not really bothered because they know their contracts are up and they could walk into another job in the Championship.
“These options stop that. It’s ‘by the way, if we get relegated you’re still going to be here and will be on a 50%, 40%, 30% of your salary’. If that’s not a motivation to run around and make sure the club stays in the league then I don’t know what is!”
Asked if there was a scenario where Ipswich would take up their option to extend Berra’s deal by 12 months and then look to recoup a transfer fee for him this summer, Mccarthy replied: “That’s really Marcus’ (Evans) shout, to be honest.
“I guess if there was a deal to be done with another club, maybe a swap deal, we could do that. That’s not the case at the moment though.
“It’s a difficult situation, kind of a sad one, because we’ve got a really good defender, but I also get it that football is not everything. He’s got a family. If she was my daughter or granddaughter I’d want to be spending time with her too.
“If it was purely a football decision then, yeah, no question he’d be here.
“As a defender he’s one of the best I’ve worked with. He’s consistent, he plays games, he’s quick, he’s good in the air. He’s just been pretty much an ever-present. He must have played 300-odd games for me over the years at Wolves and Ipswich.”