Why Ashton's going

CHRIS WISE Dean Ashton's determination to quit Norwich City for a fresh crack at the Premiership left the club with little option but to sell him, chief executive Neil Doncaster revealed.

CHRIS WISE

Dean Ashton's determination to quit Norwich City for a fresh crack at the Premiership left the club with little option but to sell him, chief executive Neil Doncaster revealed last night.

The Canaries' finally accepted a record £7.25m bid for the young striker from West Ham at the weekend, and the move will be completed today providing the player passes a medical and can agree personal terms.

Ashton's impending departure is sure to dismay many supporters, with the player having being touted as a key part of the club's long-term future not so long ago.

Doncaster made it clear that he was disappointed himself - but insisted there was absolutely nothing the club could have done to prevent their star striker from jumping ship.

“The fact that we are losing one of our best young players has got to be disappointing to everyone who has got Norwich City's best interests at heart,” he told the EDP.

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“That said, that is football. When a good young player decides that he wants to go, and makes it clear to all concerned that his future lies elsewhere, then all you can do is be pragmatic and make the best of that situation.

“We believe we have done that. We spent the best part of two weeks negotiating with West Ham to ensure we got the best possible deal for the club.

“I think the final fee is a reflection of how highly sought after he is. We also negotiated a 15 per cent sell-on fee and that's one of the reasons the deal was so drawn out. We dug our heels in on that one.

“The other thing you can do in these circumstances is to make as much of the money as you can available to the manager to continue the long-term building process - and that is what we intend to do.

“The wheel keeps on turning. It's not a beginning or an end, it's just part of the long history of Norwich City Football Club.”

Meanwhile Ashton revealed that the chance to return to the Premiership was "too good to turn down" as he prepared to finalise his move to the Upton Park.

"I have had a great year at Norwich and would like to sincerely thank the fans and everyone I have worked with at Carrow Road,” he told the club's official website.

"West Ham are a big club, I am ambitious and at the end of the day the chance of a swift step up to the Premiership is too good to turn down.

"I spoke to Nigel Worthington and the board and told them I wanted to pursue this opportunity.”

The large transfer fee will surprise many - Wigan boss Paul Jewell baulked at Norwich's demand for "silly money” before Christmas - but West Ham managing director Paul Aldridge believes it will be money well spent as the Hammers look to consolidate in the Premiership.

"Alan Pardew has identified Dean as a player who can play a key role in helping the club to reach a new level, and we have therefore worked extremely hard to ensure that the transfer goes ahead,” he said.

"We are paying a club record transfer fee for Dean because we feel that, at 22, he represents an investment that can benefit West Ham for years to come at the highest level.”

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