Ipswich Town and Derby County remain a long way apart on Steve Davies valuation

STEVE Davies is keen to be reunited with manager Paul Jewell at Ipswich Town – but Derby County are driving a hard bargain over their wantaway striker.

The 24-year-old was transfer listed back in May after he rejected a new deal at the club, stating ‘personal reasons’. And the Liverpool-born player has since revealed via social networking website Twitter that the decision was because he wants to be closer to his family in London.

Rams boss Nigel Clough rates the frontman as one of the club’s most valuable assets, but would rather receive a fee from him now instead of losing him for nothing when his contract expires next summer.

Blues boss Paul Jewell – the man who brought Davies to Pride Park from Tranmere for an initial tribunal fee of �275,000 in 2008 – is keen to work with the striker again.

And it’s Town who remain in the hotseat after Derby chief executive Tom Glick yesterday rubbished speculation that Blackburn Rovers had been in contact about the player.

The EADT understands that Davies is keen to come to Ipswich. However, he may have to wait as the two clubs are currently some way apart in their valuation of the player.

Despite injuries restricting him to little more than 50 starts during his four seasons at County, a return of 23 goals during that time – including 12 last season – means Davies has been valued by Clough around the �1m mark.

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And the Rams boss is under no pressure to raise funds after selling key centre-back Jason Shackell to Championship rivals Burnley for �1.1m.

Jewell has a tight budget to work to this summer though as owner Marcus Evans and chief executive Simon Clegg aim to quickly bring the club in line with new financial fair play rules.

And the Blues boss, who still has other areas of his squad to strengthen – most notably goalkeeper – believes a valuation of nearer �500,000 is more realistic for Davies.

The two clubs are currently locked in negotiations to see whether they can reach an acceptable figure somewhere in the middle, with no guarantee that a compromise can be reached.

“It is hard to say what will happen with Steven right now,” said Derby chief executive Glick. “Until a situation arises or deal that makes sense, then Steven is a player for Derby County.

“Will he still be here at the start of the season? You know, I don’t know.

“We are looking for a fee, no question, and an appropriate fee.

“Steven is a talented young player who has got a year to run on his contract. We have made an offer to extend his contract. That hasn’t quite worked for him and you have seen there are a variety of reasons for that.”