Lee emerges as Hull City target
IPSWICH striker Alan Lee today emerged as a top target for ambitious Hull City.The Tigers are preparing a £500,000 bid to lure last season's leading scorer to Humberside.
By Mel Henderson
IPSWICH striker Alan Lee today emerged as a top target for ambitious Hull City.
The Tigers are preparing a £500,000 bid to lure last season's leading scorer to Humberside.
Lee is understood to be reluctant to move on, although he will be swayed by the security of a longer-term contract on improved terms.
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Speculation about his future at Portman Road has been rife for months and has increased in recent weeks, with Coventry also being linked.
But Hull appear to be leading the chase for the 28-year-old Republic of Ireland international, a £100,000 bargain buy from Cardiff by ex-boss Joe Royle in January last year.
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Lee has since netted 21 goals in 58 appearances for Town and was on target twice in last night's 3-0 win at Burton Albion when Jim Magilton's men launched their pre-season programme.
There has been a question mark against the player's Ipswich future since January, when he and six team-mates enjoyed a two-day break in Amsterdam and were disciplined for what the club termed an “unauthorised visit”.
Confirmation that ex-Town star Pablo Counago is on his way back, while there may still be a chance of attracting Francis Jeffers on loan, could
pave the way for Lee's departure.
Ipswich directors will find it hard to reject a £500,000 bid for a player whose contract has just one more year to run and who could depart for nothing when it expires.
Hull, whose new owners are prepared to pump significant sums into the squad, are desperate to reinforce their attacking options after parting company with three experienced strikers since the end of last season.
Jon Parkin has joined Stoke and Darryl Duffy has moved to Swansea, while Brighton have signed ex-Town star Nicky Forster.
These deals brought in over £500,000 and Tigers' boss Phil Brown has identified Lee and Cork City's Roy O'Donovan as the players he wants to recruit.
If Ipswich agree a deal with Hull it could pave the way for the loan signing of Jeffers, whose wage demands put paid to a possible permanent switch from Blackburn after he netted four times in nine games during a temporary switch to Portman Road earlier this year.
Chairman David Sheepshanks said: “We really wanted Franny Jeffers but he effectively ruled himself out with the terms he wanted. We will remember Franny fondly and, who knows, we may one day find a way of bringing him here. There is no prospect of a loan deal right now but I would not rule it out.”