Alex denies talking over Canaries move
Mansfield defender Alex John-Baptiste has denied he has discussed a move to Norwich City.Reports have suggested the 21-year-old has been at Carrow Road for talks about a move to the Championship club.
Mansfield defender Alex John-Baptiste has denied he has discussed a move to Norwich City.
Reports have suggested the 21-year-old has been at Carrow Road for talks about a move to the Championship club.
But John-Baptiste insists he would delay a decision on his future until he sees who Mansfield sign for next season.
Responding to claims that he made two visits to Norwich in the past 10 days, John-Baptiste sais: “I have not been to Norwich and I've had no contact with them.”
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The 21-year-old defender is out of contract at Field Mill and, earlier this month, Mansfield manager Bill Dearden, currently away on holiday, offered John-Baptiste one of the best deals ever to a player who has come through the ranks to stay at the club.
He said at the time: “We are not trying to keep him on the cheap. He is being offered good money to stay here.”
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The defender is reported to have travelled to Norwich see the facilities at Carrow Road and Colney, before returning to hold talks with manager Peter Grant.
But John-Baptiste said: “I genuinely want to stay at Mansfield, but I need to see where the club is going first.
“I'm sure Mansfield and the fans don't want to be in League Two forever, and I don't want to be either.
“Who they sign will have an influence on my decision because I don't want to be finishing 17th again.”
Mansfield assistant manager Paul Holland said: “Bill Dearden is back on Thursday and we hope to hear from the players who have been offered new contracts then, so that we can plan ahead for next season.”
John-Baptiste, 5ft 11in and born at Sutton-in-Ashfield, has made 166 senior appearances for Mansfield, scoring six goals.
He made his first team debut at the age of 17 in March 2003 and had loan spells at Tamworth and Burton Albion before establishing himself in the Stags' defence.
Apart from centre-half, he has played at right-back or as a defensive midfielder.
In the past, he has been linked with Derby, Sheffield United and Watford, but former Blades boss Neil Warnock was understood to have rejected Mansfield's asking price. Now, however, he is out of contract and, as he is still only 21, any fee would have to be settled by a tribunal.
The Canaries could face competition from Hartlepool United, newly-promoted to League One.
Hartlepool manager Danny Wilson, who signed John-Baptiste's former team-mate Richie Barker from Field Mill in January, is also an admirer and is believed to have offered him a contract.
Mansfield finished eighth from bottom of League Two at the end of the season.