No Jeffers but Pablo may return to Town

PABLO Counago could be set for a return to Portman Road after the hoped-for signing of Francis Jeffers fell through last night.Ipswich Town are believed to have made the Spaniard an offer after Jeffers' wage demands proved to be too excessive for the Blues.

By Derek Davis

PABLO Counago could be set for a return to Portman Road after the hoped-for signing of Francis Jeffers fell through last night.

Ipswich Town are believed to have made the Spaniard an offer after Jeffers' wage demands proved to be too excessive for the Blues.

The 26-year-old former Everton, Arsenal and Charlton striker, who was known to be on £7,000 a week at Ewood Road plus appearance fees, was offered even more by Ipswich Town but it was still not enough.


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Town were close to agreeing a deal with Rovers, which would have meant them almost reaching Blackburn's valuation of £1m over time, but it was the player's personal terms that led to the deal being scuppered.

Although Jeffers would have become Ipswich's highest-paid current player, the club was mindful of the disruption that could be caused - the wages paid to Finidi George and Matteo Sereni, in particular, caused dressing room dissention and contributed to the subsequent financial meltdown.

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Blues chairman David Sheepshanks said last night: “We made what we felt was a very lucrative offer to Franny and it was an offer that could exceed what he is earning at Blackburn, who are obviously a Premiership club.

“But unfortunately, despite our extensive efforts, we have not been able to match what the player wants financially from the deal.

“We have a duty to protect the wage structure at this club and will not put that at risk. The offer we made to Franny was a very good one in line with his status, however, now we move on.

“The positive news is that I can confirm that we have now made an offer to another player.”

That player is believed to be Counago, who was confirmed as an alternative by Magilton.

Counago is a free agent after being released by Malaga and is known to be keen on a return to Portman Road.

The former Spain Under-21 international finished Town's top scorer with 19 goals in 2002/2003, Ipswich's first season back in the Championship, but moved on a year later after falling out with Joe Royle.

Magilton has made no secret that he is an admirer of the 26-year-old and moved swiftly to bring him back when it appeared his number one target was proving too elusive.

With Blackburn bringing in even more strikers - and reportedly also interested in a Paraguayan international - Jeffers looks destined for a lengthy spell in Blackburn's reserves now that Town, his preferred choice in the Championship, have pulled out of a potential deal.

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