Bullard could return – if he wins battle of wills with Hull
IPSWICH Town’s hopes of bringing Jimmy Bullard back to Portman Road are not yet dead in the water.
It all hinges on who can hold their nerve in a battle of wills between the charismatic midfielder and his employers Hull City.
The Yorkshire club have long been desperate to offload the 32-year-old – believed to be earning around �47,000 a week – from their wage bill, while Bullard is understandably keen to play regular football at this stage of his career.
Hull are not willing to loan their asset back to a Championship rival and heavily subsidise his wages, as they did with Ipswich at the back end of last season, while Blues boss Paul Jewell has admitted that the club could not afford the midfielder’s personal terms on their own.
And so we have deadlock.
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Hull could stubbornly keep Bullard in their reserves and hope he eventually cracks and takes a massive pay cut elsewhere. The problem with that is that Bullard could call their bluff and see out the remaining two years of his contract and net an estimated �5m.
The other option – and here is where a move to Town could yet be resurrected – is that the Tigers could offer him a �1m one-off payment to terminate his contract, therefore reducing his wage demands for prospective buyers.
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And with Jewell having recently received �8.1m for the sale of Connor Wickham, an agreement could yet be reached.
Bullard looked a frustrated figure on his first day back at training this week and is likely to be left at home when the club goes on a pre-season training camp to Slovenia.
And he has reiterated that he would love to return to Town.
“I’ve not really thought about things too much yet,” said a relaxed Bullard, who chooses to represent himself rather than have an agent.
“I’ve been away for six or seven weeks and now I’m back in training with Hull.
“At the end of the day I’m still contracted to them and I’d be more than happy to play for them next season.
“If they turn around and say they don’t want me to play for money reasons then we’ll have to see what happens.
“I loved every single minute of my time at Ipswich last season and made some wicked friends. If there was some way I could sort out a move there I would be a very happy man.”