Welsh press suggests Jerome bid imminent

CHRIS WISE Speculation linking Cardiff hot-shot Cameron Jerome with a big-money move to Carrow Road hotted up yesterday when reports in the Welsh press suggested a firm bid from Norwich was imminent.


Speculation linking Cardiff hot-shot Cameron Jerome with a big-money move to Carrow Road hotted up yesterday when reports in the Welsh press suggested a firm bid from Norwich was imminent.

The teenage frontman, who has scored 15 goals so far this season, has been touted as a possible successor to Dean Ashton, who completed his £7.25m switch to West Ham on Monday.

Jerome would be available for around half that sum - and a source at Ninian Park revealed to a local newspaper yesterday that he was expecting a move from the Canaries “within the next 24 hours”.

That could be an attempt on the part of the Bluebirds to drum up some business ahead of next Tuesday's transfer deadline - after all they have debts of around £30m which will need to be cleared at some stage.

But it could also be an indication that Norwich are ready to spend big to secure a deal for one of the most exciting young strikers in the country.

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Manager Nigel Worthington was, as ever, keeping his cards extremely close to his chest when told of the latest gossip emanating from the Welsh capital.

He admitted earlier this month that Jerome was a player he admired, but had nothing to say on the possibility of forking out around £3.5m for his services.

Speaking on the possibility of new arrivals during the January transfer window, he stated: “Work is ongoing as always and when the time is right we will let everyone know what is happening.”

With a place in the Championship play-offs a distinct possibility, Cardiff are likely to sell only if they receive their full asking price for the player, who has come on in leaps and bounds since being released by Middlesbrough as a youngster.

And if the rumours do prove to be true then negotiations over Jerome's transfer are certain to be protracted since he is currently in Portugal on Cardiff's mid-season training camp and Bluebirds' owner Sam Hammam is back home in his native Lebanon.

Meanwhile, the Canaries are braced for another week of uncertainty on the transfer front after Portsmouth co-owner Milan Mandaric again confirmed that they were in the market for a new goalkeeper.

Despite Robert Green's assertion that throwing his shirt into the crowd at the end of Saturday's 3-2 home defeat by Watford was an act purely of frustration as opposed to one of farewell, there remains the distinct feeling that the City 'keeper's quest to ensure he is on the plane to the World Cup in Germany this summer could yet fuel firm interest from Portsmouth, or even Charlton.

Hard on the heels of Saturday's 5-0 thrashing by fellow strugglers Birmingham City, Mandaric revealed that they were keen to ease the load on young 'keeper Jamie Ashdown.

Charlton's out-of-favour keeper Dean Kiely has been identified as one target, but Mandaric insisted he was not the only iron in the fire.

“I think over the next couple of days we'll look to bring Dean Kiely or someone else in in that position,” said Mandaric. “We need a keeper to challenge Jamie Ashdown. I like Jamie, but he's got a lot on his shoulders right now.”

If Kiely does join Pompey, Addicks' boss Alan Curbishley could also be looking for another 'keeper - and Charlton were once again linked with Green in yesterday's national newspapers, with striker Kevin Lisbie, on loan at Carrow Road earlier this season, mentioned as a possible makeweight in any deal.

The future of want-away attacking midfielder Jason Euell also remains unclear after Birmingham failed to follow up their initial interest, while strikers Francis Jeffers and Jonatan Johansson have both been linked with moves to Championship clubs in the past.

Euell has twice been Charlton's top goal scorer since his £4.75m switch from Wimbledon during the summer of 2001 but his career has gone downhill in spectacular fashion recently and he has yet to make a single first team appearance this season.

Jeffers is now back at the Valley after an unsuccessful loan spell with Glasgow Rangers, during which he failed to scorer in 14 appearances, while Johansson hasn't appeared in the first team since a 5-2 home drubbing at the hands of Manchester City at the beginning of December.

The Finnish international, who scored twice in Charlton's 4-0 home victory over Norwich last season, has a career record of 33 goals in 167 appearances for the London side.