Lee Martin contract talks begin – and new Luke Hyam deal could soon follow
LEE Martin is set to end exit speculation and sign a new contract at Ipswich Town – and Luke Hyam could soon be about to follow.
After seeing Gareth McAuley, David Norris and Grant Leadbitter walk away from the club on free transfers at the end of their deals, Blues boss Paul Jewell insisted he would employ a tough ‘sign or be sold’ policy regarding those entering the final year of their contracts this season.
With Martin coming to the end of the lucrative four-year he signed when Roy Keane recruited him from Manchester United, many had begun to question whether the rejuvenated midfielder would be able to agree terms under a new austerity era at the club.
However, the 25-year-old said earlier this week that he would ‘love to stay’ following arguably the best spell of football in his career.
And now Jewell – who is today closing in on the loan signing of midfielder Guirane N’Daw from St Etienne – has revealed one of his key men could be about to commit his future to the Blues.
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Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s game at early table-toppers Blackpool, he said: “I was trying to get hold of the owner (Marcus Evans) last night for two hours and he was on the phone to Lee Martin’s agent! I am trying to stay out of the money side of it now – I’ll let the owner and Simon (Clegg) do that.
“We want to sign our best players and I definitely want to keep Lee Martin. He is an important part of what we are doing and he will be for the next three or four years or more. All being well, that will get sorted.”
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Even with Jaime Peters becoming the latest player to have reached a mutual agreement with the club regarding the premature termination of their contract yesterday, Town still have 12 players in the final year of their contracts.
Midfielder Hyam was controversially only handed seven league starts and a 12-month contract extension last season, but following an impressive start to the new campaign it looks like the local lad he will soon be rewarded with a new deal.
“He has been terrific,” said Jewell. “I have to take my hat off to Luke Hyam as he has battled and been an example to all the young lads who might think the door is closed on them. He wasn’t even in our reserve side last season on a regular basis so I think he has shown a brilliant attitude.
“I think he has improved as a player, his confidence has improved and, while he will have peaks and troughs, he is definitely someone we want to give a new deal to – there is no doubt about that.
“I haven’t spoke to him about it but it will definitely be sooner rather than later. I say to all the young lads that the door is never closed. While they are here and training every day, they always have a chance to impress me.”