Walters out, Chopra in?

BOTH clubs are remaining tight-lipped, but reports that Ipswich Town have agreed a �3million fee with Premier League Stoke City for the sale of skipper Jon Walters will ignite speculation that ace marksman Michael Chopra is on his way to Portman Road from Cardiff City.

If this was to happen, it would be good business as far as the Blues are concerned.

And also lessen the chances of young hot-shot Connor Wickham being lured away to raise revenue.

Walters, who was not contrary to reports in the Potteries yesterday discussing personal terms, has been a great servant for Ipswich since joining from Chester in January 2007.

But there has been an underlying feeling for some while that he might be on his way, and if he gets a chance to play in the top flight he would probably jump at it.

Town manager Roy Keane has long had his sights set on Chopra, and the cash for Walters could finance the deal – and set Ipswich up for a much better campaign than fans have been expecting.

Exchanging an eight-goal-a-season man for one that clocked 21 for the Bluebirds last term would be a good deal from Ipswich’s angle.

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Keane has always spoken highly of Walters, but there is no reason to think he would stand in the player’s way of earning Premier League wages to set up his career.

Walters fits the Stoke way of playing under Tony Pulis with his running and heading ability although the Potters are also showing interest in Middlesbrough’s Gary O’Neil as they look for a replacement for Celtic-bound Liam Lawrence.

Cardiff will be looking for a minimum of �3million for Chopra, and with the reduction in wage bill costs by the sale of Owen Garvan and Alex Bruce and possibly Walters this could lead to Keane upping his offer.

Chopra was happy playing under Keane at Sunderland and there is little doubt that he would be look positively at any Portman Road move.

Walters, 26, is contracted to Town until 2012, and was strongly linked with Stoke two summers ago.

He joined Ipswich from Chester City for an eventual �200,000 and to sell him for a �2.8million profit would sit well with Town owner Marcus Evans and be an added bonus if it paved the way for a proven scorer to link up with Wickham.

The sale of Walters would also ease pressure on Ipswich to consider selling Wickham to raise the cash to strengthen Keane’s squad.

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