Kuqis in transfer twist
THERE could be one Kuqi out and another one in at Portman Road next season.Blackburn are keen on signing out-of-contract Shefki Kuqi, while Birmingham City are prepared to loan out his 22-year-old brother Njazi, with Ipswich understood to be monitoring the situation closely.
By Derek Davis
THERE could be one Kuqi out and another one in at Portman Road next season.
Blackburn are keen on signing out-of-contract Shefki Kuqi, while Birmingham City are prepared to loan out his 22-year-old brother Njazi, with Ipswich understood to be monitoring the situation closely.
The younger Kuqi was bought by Birmingham from FC Lahti in January after a trial earlier in the season but has yet to make his first-team debut and Steve Bruce is keen for him to gain experience of English football before pitching into the Premiership.
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Coventry City are also keen on taking the Finland Under-21 star, who spent some time at the Ipswich training complex before moving to St Andrews.
Kuqi senior is away with Finland on international duty and considering a new two-year offer made by Ipswich.
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The Blues' leading scorer last season with 20 goals has been pin-pointed by Blackburn boss Mark Hughes as a possible summer signing, while Sunderland have also been heavily linked with Shefki.
A couple of top-flight bosses are prepared to see if Shefki can make it in the Premiership, knowing that if they didn't want to keep him they could recoup the cost of his wages by selling him.
Sunderland are also likely to land Tommy Miller on a free transfer but have now expressed an interest in stopper Kelvin Davis.
The Championship keeper of the year has already been linked strongly with Arsenal and his form over the past couple of seasons has made a number of Premiership bosses sit up and take notice, including Mick McCarthy.
The Mackems' boss expects to lose out on Darren Bent. with Charlton the most likely destination for the London-born striker, whose dad lives close to The Valley.
Although the Addicks are keen to off-load Francis Jeffers as part of the Bent deal, it seems Ipswich are not so happy and would prefer a higher percentage of cash in the move and would not be prepared to pay anything like the wages the ex-Arsenal and Everton striker would demand.
The Black Cats could not afford to buy Bent and Davis and may be put off by the price tag on the keeper.
With former Wigan keeper Roy Carroll available on a free transfer from Manchester United, Sunderland may look there for another keeper to go with Thomas Myhre and Mart Poom.
Ipswich could lose up to half their squad this summer, which is why Joe Royle is impatient to get answers back from players so he can start looking for replacements.
Bent has put in a transfer request and is likely to be sold. Davis is also a valuable asset who is attracting interest. Miller and Kuqi appear Premiership-bound as well but on free transfers.
Drissa Diallo has already been released, while fellow Frenchman Jimmy Juan has yet to agree to another year's loan with Ipswich from Monaco.
Skipper Jim Magilton is by no means a certainty to stay, even though he has been offered a new contract and would consider a player-coach role offered elsewhere.
Fabian Wilnis is the most likely to accept the new deal, after making it clear to the EADT last month of his desire to stay with Ipswich.
Royle has targeted a left-back as a priority and, with Mo Camara's arrival stalling on his wage demands, Town are now looking at Stoke City's out-of-contract defender Wayne Thomas.