Jim must pay £2.5M for Crewe striker

BLUES boss Jim Magilton has been told he will have to stump up £2.5million for Crewe Alexander striker Nicky Maynard, the EADT can reveal today.

Derek Davis

BLUES boss Jim Magilton has been told he will have to stump up £2.5million for Crewe Alexander striker Nicky Maynard, the EADT can reveal today.

Ipswich Town were prepared to offer £1.75m for the 21-year-old who has only played 65 senior games, netting 35 goals, but Crewe said that was not enough.

The Alex coach Steve Holland is resigned to losing the young striker, with Middlesbrough also keen on the product of Dario Gradi's fames academy, but Crewe are determined to hold out for a big price, which would include add-ons.

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Town are, though, ready to splash out around £2.5m on experienced Greek international Angelos Charisteas but have yet to speak to the player, who is on holiday until Monday.

The EADT revealed earlier this week that Town had permission to speak to Charisteas but his agent Paul Koulsoliakos last night told us that they had yet to hold talks.

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He said: “We have not spoken yet so it is impossible to say whether he would be interested in joining Ipswich or not.

“Until it comes upon my table there is nothing to say. Angelos returns from holiday on Monday and will start pre-season training with Nuremburg who then go to Austria a few days later.”

It is understood Charisteas, whose talent was spotted by Blues overseas scout Simon Hunt at the beginning of the decade and suggested him to George Burley, would be keen to play in England at some point in his career after turning down the chance to before signing for Ajax.

A concern for Town might be that one of the pre-season games Nuremburg play in Austria is against Stoke City, who are also in the market for a big striker.

The Bundesliga side want around £2.5m for the vastly experienced forward, who scored in the Euro 2004 final when Greece beat Portugal and stands around 6'4'' while Maynard is not so much a bustling type of forward and not considered the finished article.

The Town manager has been frustrated in his efforts to add to his squad since securing Gareth McAuley from Leicester City and Pim Balkenstein from Heerenveen.

He still has high hopes of landing Southampton defender Rudi Skácel but the defender has returned home after being shown round Town's Portman Road ground and the training centre, without yet making a decision.

Skácel is concerned that playing in the Championship will affect his place in the Czech Republic side, which was why he went on loan to Hertha Berlin from Southampton last January for six months.

Magilton last night said: “Rudi is a player that would be a good addition to this football club and would help take us forward.

“He has been to the training ground this week to have a look around the place and we had a very positive discussion.

“He was very impressed with what he saw and likes the club and we have made him a very good offer.

“It's now up to Rudi. He's gone back to Prague to think over the move and we expect a decision very soon.

“I know that playing for the Czech Republic national side is very important to Rudi and whether he thinks his chances will be affected by playing in the Championship is something he will have to think about.”

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