Cheap as Chops – striker came from Cardiff for just �1m

IPSWICH Town manager Paul Jewell still can’t believe he was able to take the ‘best striker in the division’ off Cardiff’s hands this summer in a cut-price deal that was even cheaper than first thought.

Michael Chopra returns to his former team on Saturday with a point to prove after the Bluebirds – a club for whom he scored 58 goals over two permanent and two loan spells – let him go during a major overhaul of staff and players over the summer.

Although officially undisclosed, the fee has widely been reported as being around �1.5m. That itself has always looked cheap for one of the Championships’s most proven goalscorers, which makes Jewell’s latest revelation even more surprising.

“I’ve seen what prices have been mentioned, but we only paid a million pounds for him,” said the Blues boss.

“I think Cardiff wanted to change things around a bit, maybe Chops wanted a fresh challenge. All I know is that we got a terrific deal because I think he’s the best striker in the division.”

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Chopra went eight games without a goal following his debut brace at Bristol City before spectacularly ending that barren spell with two long-range strikes against Brighton heading into the two-week international break.

And Jewell wouldn’t be surprised if more were to come from his star front man – starting in south Wales on Saturday.

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He said: “Sometimes you can try too hard against your former club, but I think Chops is experienced enough to know that he did a lot for Cardiff (helping them to two top six finishes).

“I don’t think there is any acrimony on his part and I’m not aware of any from Cardiff towards him either. Sometimes people just move on.”

He added: “Everyone knows what a good player he is, but he is a streaky player. He gets his goals in fits and starts.

“He’s very bright, he’s very clever and he never stops working for the team. He’s one of our major players and hopefully he can go on a goalscoring run now.

“I’m sure Michael is looking forward to going back to his former club, but more than anything I think he’s just looking forward to playing a game of football, full-stop.

“He’ll be itching to get out there again having scored that brace just before the international break.”

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