So who would pay for Jerome?

Norwich City manager Nigel Worthington yesterday gave his clearest indication yet that he may be resigned to offloading one of his key players during the transfer window.

Norwich City manager Nigel Worthington yesterday gave his clearest indication yet that he may be resigned to offloading one of his key players during the transfer window.

Just a day after club chairman Roger Munby had indicated that the £450,000 purchase of Dickson Etuhu from Preston had left nothing in City's transfer kitty, Worthington confirmed he had made an initial inquiry for Cardiff's £2m-rated striker Cameron Jerome.

With speculation mounting over expected approaches for Dean Ashton - an England U21 colleague of Jerome - Munby had revealed that money would need to be generated from “sales or other sources” if Worthington was to be able to bring in fresh faces.

Portsmouth became the latest Premiership suitor linked to Ashton following the announcement of Alexandre Gaydamak's impending arrival, which is set to land Pompey boss Harry Redknapp a £20m survival war chest - though the south coast strugglers have also been strongly linked with former Canary Chris Sutton and Auxerre hitman Benjani Mwaruwari.


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Norwich could face stiff competition from Championship promotion hopefuls Sheffield United, however, if they want to make 19-year-old Jerome a ready-made replacement for their record signing.

Sources in Sheffield suggest Blades manager Neil Warnock is poised to table a £1.2m bid for Jerome, who is believed to be keen on return to his native Yorkshire.

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The Blades boss has targeted three new signings, but with joint top scorer Steve Kabba stalling on a new contract Warnock - who has also been linked with a move for Ashton - admits a frontman remains his number one priority.

“I'd love to bring a striker in and we expect to talk to players later this week,” he said. “Obviously, I'm not going to say who I'm looking at but I'm a big believer in fate. We'll just have to wait and see what happens, if it will be then it will be. We are hoping to have players in by the Ipswich game (on January 14). We are prepared to wait to get the lads we want.”

European champions Liverpool and the Canaries' FA Cup opponents, West Ham, have also been regular visitors to Ninian Park this season. But Bluebirds boss Dave Jones yesterday denied a bidding war had already started for his 13-goal striker.

“We haven't had any offers for Cameron Jerome at this present time,” he told the club's official web site. “Every footballer has his price and if a Premier club came calling it is going to be difficult to keep hold of any young player, particularly someone like Cameron Jerome.”

Jerome's agent Tony Finnigan insisted the teenager is happy to stay at the Welsh outfit, but failed to rule out a move.

“Cameron will remain a Cardiff player until the club see fit,” he said. “If I did envisage any sort of bid then, naturally, we would assume that we would be told, but that is not a concern at the moment. Cameron has a lot to learn and Terry Burton (Cardiff assistant boss) has worked with some of the finest young players in British football, so Cameron knows how good a grounding he is getting at the moment.”

The cash-strapped Bluebirds need funds to finance a permanent move for West Brom's influential midfielder Jason Koumas. Jones is also desperate to extend Michael Ricketts loan spell from Leeds until the end of the campaign.

“I want to keep him but it's complicated,” he said. “At the moment we can only pay a certain amount of his wages. If Leeds want the full whack we can't do it. I would prefer to add to the squad but to do that I may have to let one or two players go.”

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