McCarthy speaks on the contract situations of Berra, Chambers, Spence, Taylor, Gerken and Kenlock
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy has not ruled out Christophe Berra staying at the club next season, but says he would not stand in the way if the defender wanted to move back to his native Scotland.
Berra has made no secret of the fact he would eventually like to be nearer his young daughter, who is living in Edinburgh, and it’s understood that his former club Hearts are keen to sign him.
The 32-year-old centre-back’s Town contract expires this summer, but the Blues have the option to extend it by a further 12 months.
“Christophe Berra, as you know, there has been talk about him going to Hearts,” said McCarthy, who signed Berra at both Wolves and Ipswich.
“I’m saying Hearts, because it was the club he was at, but I mean Scotland. We’ve got an option on him as well.”
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Asked if Berra’s family situation would be taken into consideration when making that decision, the Blues boss replied: “Absolutely. I’ve had Christophe for a long time now. If anyone comes to me and says they’ve got a funeral, a wedding or a birth, anything, I always say ‘go and sort it out’. Those family issues will be there for them when I’m long gone and when they’re long gone from any club. That’s important to me.
“The issue is that all the players sign contracts and if there’s an option in it then it’s there for the club to take up or not. It’s only at these times when people start questioning that option.
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“What happens if I’d have gone and someone came in and went ‘I want Christophe Berra to stay here’? There’s nothing he could do about that. He might say, ‘I don’t want to play and I don’t want to be here’, but ultimately if he picked him I know what Christophe would do – he’d play.
“I’m not suggesting that scenario might happen, but it could. If there are options in the contract, it’s up to the club to decide.
“But I wouldn’t want to keep a player that was desperately wanting to be somewhere else. You might as well play somebody else who is wanting to play.”
Town skipper Luke Chambers is also coming to the end of a contract which the club has an option to extend by 12 months.
McCarthy explained: “Marcus (Evans) said he’d speak to his agent in March and, as far as I’m aware, it is now March! I’ve made my case clear about Chambo – I think we should do it.”
Defenders Jordan Spence and Stephen Taylor were signed on short-term deals until the end of the season in January. Asked about those players’ futures, McCarthy said: “We’ve still got 10 games to play. Jordan Spence has impressed actually. Stephen Taylor, I thought he did well in the games he played and he’s an impressive personality around the place. He’s had a lot of injuries throughout his career though.
“Let me tell you, he’s a fine specimen in terms of an athlete. He looks after himself and is a good professional. Everything I’ve seen about him, what he does and how he lives his life, is pretty impressive. But he’s had a lot of injuries and we can’t afford that. I need durable players.”
Back-up keeper Dean Gerken and left-back Myles Kenlock are also nearing the end of their deals.
“Dean’s option has been, not taken up yet, but we are in discussions with him about that,” said McCarthy.
“Myles is getting a new contract. I think that’s pretty much agreed.”