Potential windfall if Ashton leaves Hammers

Norwich boss Glenn Roeder could net a potential £400,000 windfall for his January transfer kitty after club record signing Dean Ashton was yesterday linked with a shock West Ham exit.

Norwich boss Glenn Roeder could net a potential £400,000 windfall for his January transfer kitty after club record signing Dean Ashton was yesterday linked with a shock West Ham exit.

Growing national media speculation claimed Ashton had requested showdown talks with Hammers boss Alan Curbishley after a bit part role during United's festive period.

Chelsea, Man City and Newcastle have all been linked with the £10m-rated striker after Curbishley last month was publically forced to deny any rift with his big hitman.

City negotiated a 15 % sell on clause when Ashton departed for an initial £7.25m in January 2006 on any future profit made by the Hammers.

Ashton's first club Crewe earned a healthy six figure return from a similar clause when the powerful striker moved to Carrow Road for £3m in January 2005. The 24-year-old was a revelation in his 12 month stint plundering 18 goals in 46 appearances.

The striker is reportedly frustrated at his lack of action after being left out of the Hammers' line up for the holiday double header against Man United and Arsenal.

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Ashton is desperate for regular first team football after notching five goals in eight starts since battling back from a year-long spell on the sidelines with a broken ankle injured on his first call up to the England squad.

Roeder only last week confirmed he was in the market for up to four new recruits during the January window in addition to extending the stays of loan quartet Mo Camara, Ched Evans, Jimmy Smith and Matty Pattison.

Smith returned to Chelsea prior to City's New Year's Day draw at Crystal Palace but Roeder revealed Norwich were in advanced talks with his remaining Premiership trio ahead of Saturday's FA Cup third round home tie against Bury.

“They're going back and I hope by the weekend we'll have some news about all of them returning,” he said. “Seeing is believing, as they say, so if I see them all on Friday morning I'll be delighted.”

Roeder had hinted at a permanent move for Pattison from former club Newcastle while City look set to renew their interest in Birmingham centre back Martin Taylor.

Norwich's reported initial £750,000 offer was rejected after Blues' managing director Karren Brady agreed a £1m deal with Championship rivals QPR - but big spending Rangers yesterday switched their attention to Arsenal prospect Matthew Connolly.The 20-year-old England U21 defender signed a three-and-a-half year deal at Loftus Road for an undisclosed fee after a successful stint on loan at Colchester.

Rangers also completed a permanent deal for midfielder Hogan Ephraim while the cash-rich West Londoners have long been linked with Wigan's out-of-favour defender Fitz Hall.