Cork fee may be too rich for Town
GARY Roberts will become an Ipswich player next month.But there is a real danger that Cork City could price long-term trialist George O'Callaghan out of a move to Portman Road.
By Mel Henderson
GARY Roberts will become an Ipswich player next month.
But there is a real danger that Cork City could price long-term trialist George O'Callaghan out of a move to Portman Road.
Roberts, 22, has scored twice in 11 appearances since joining Town on loan from League Two outfit Accrington Stanley in mid-October.
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But despite fears that his improving form would alert other admirers, I understand the two clubs and the player have thrashed out a permanent arrangement.
While a deal is in place, however, there will be no official announcement until next month when the transfer window re-opens.
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But the situation regarding 27-year-old O'Callaghan is far from clear-cut, with Town boss Jim Magilton insisting today: “We won't be paying a fee of £100,000.”
The former Port Vale midfielder is under contract until the end of next season, which in the Republic of Ireland runs from March to November.
Cork boss Damian Richardson is keen to do a deal and is understood to have placed a six-figure fee on the player's head.
The pair had a bust-up that resulted in O'Callaghan coming to Ipswich, but Magilton's valuation and that of Cork are clearly some way apart.
The Town boss added: “If Cork want £100,000 for George they won't be getting it from us, although we accept we must pay a fee for the player.
“While I don't blame Cork for trying to get as much as they can for the lad, I don't see him as a £100,000 player just yet. Maybe they feel they lost out when they sold Kevin Doyle to Reading but that's nothing to do with this situation.
“I would like it to be resolved sooner rather than later, especially for the boy's sake, but I don't consider £100,000 to be a realistic fee.”
If Cork stick to their guns, and bearing in mind Magilton's insistence that he will not pay the asking price, there must be a real danger of O'Callaghan's dream move collapsing.
He is keen to make the switch to Portman Road permanent, while Magilton has confirmed his intention to offer him a contract and said “George's attitude has been top-class.”
Meanwhile, Northern Ireland international defender Jonny Evans has been recalled by Manchester United from his loan spell with Royal Antwerp - news that interested the Town boss.
Magilton failed in a bid to sign 19-year-old Evans on loan at the start of the season because he was due to spend the entire 2006-2007 campaign in Belgium.
“I'm a big admirer of Evans and if there was a possibility of bringing him here on loan I would do it,” admitted Magilton. “But I've a feeling he is being recalled as cover for United over the busy festive programme.”