Jeffers on offer in Bent deal

'FOX in the box' striker Francis Jeffers has been offered as part of the deal that could take Darren Bent to Charlton.Although no concrete offer has yet been made by the Addicks to Ipswich, I understandpreliminary talks have already taken place and the former Arsenal and Everton striker would be part of a £3.

By Derek Davis

'FOX in the box' striker Francis Jeffers has been offered as part of the deal that could take Darren Bent to Charlton.

Although no concrete offer has yet been made by the Addicks to Ipswich, I understand

preliminary talks have already taken place and the former Arsenal and Everton striker would be part of a £3.2m package to secure Bent.


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Charlton have been putting feelers out for a number of other strikers but Bent has remained top of Alan Curbishley wish list since having a £3m offer turned down by Town last August.

Now that Bent has said he wants to leave Portman Road for the Premiership, the Blues are more willing to accept offers for the England Under-21 striker, who knocked in 19 Championship goals last season.

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Charlton rate the 24-year-old Jeffers at £1m, a year after reportedly paying Arsenal £2.6m for the Liverpool striker.

Royle is known to be keen on Jeffers, who he tried to sign on loan from Arsenal, after he had returned there from his temporary spell back at Everton.

Jeffers earned the nickname 'Fox in the Box' after scoring 18 goals in 49 Premiership games for the Toffeemen in his early days, but has lost his way in recent times.

His £8m move to the Gunners never bore fruit with four goals in 22 Premiership games and he was loaned back to the Goodison Park club but despite being back on Merseyside, never found his old form.

The Scouser scored in his one and only England international, in a friendly against Australia in February 2003.

His return of just three goals in 20 Premiership outings, one as a starter, for Charlton, has seen him included in Curbishley cull at the Valley.

Sunderland have also spoken informally to Ipswich about Bent and are expected to follow up their initial interest with a bid today.

The EADT revealed earlier in the week of the Black Cats' interest in Tommy Miller, while they are also keen on Shefki Kuqi who is also available for free.

If all three were to leave, as looks likely, then Royle needs to find players capable of replacing the trio who knocked in 54 of Town's goals.

Ipswich have joined the ever-growing list of clubs linked to Watford's Heidar Helguson and Bristol City's Leroy Lita, both valued at around £1m.

The Hornets' top-scorer with 20 goals last season, 16 in the Championship, took a pay cut during Watford's dark days to £4,000-a-week.

The Vicarage Road club are trying to keep the Icelander, who has a year left on his current deal and is understood to have been offered a new three year deal, but without much in the way of a pay rise.

Helguson is not keen to move his family away from their north London home and would probably only leave for a Premiership club, with Charlton in the box seat, while West Ham would pounce if they beat Preston on Monday in the play-off final.

Bristol City have said they want far more than £1m for Lita who netted 29 goals for the Robins last season and scored for the England Under-21s.

derek.davis@eadt.co.uk

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