Writer: Christian Saunders
Date:Saturday June 20 2009
If press reports are to be believed, Dave Jones has revitalized his long-standing interest in Manchester City's Welsh international striker Ched Evans and is poised to make a bid. With only three recognized forwards currently on the books in Jay Bothroyd, Michael Chopra and Ross McCormack, another quality forward is a priority for the forthcoming season. The powerful, undeniably talented St Asaph-born 20-year old, who scored on his senior debut for Wales last year against Iceland and been a regular in John Toshack's squads ever since, would certainly fit the bill.
However, with a number of other clubs also interested including Stoke and Sheffield United, who have already had a 1.5 million bid rejected, it certainly won't be easy for Jones to land his man.
Despite being bankrolled by all those Arab millions, Manchester City manager Mark Hughes seems intent on sparking (sorry) a bidding war for his young gun, who could conceivably slip down to sixth or seventh in the pecking order at Eastlands if Hughes lands a few of his own summer targets. Even in the current financial climate, he is hoping to reap around 3 million for Evans who he rates very highly. If Cardiff were to make a move it would certainly require a record-breaking bid on their part, with the current record still standing at the 1.7 million they paid to Stoke to secure the services of Peter Thorne back in 2001.
After starting his career at Chester City Evans was snapped up by Manchester City in 2002 when Chester's youth system folded. He made steady progress and proved his credentials in the 2007 / 08 season during a loan spell at Championship rivals Norwich where he netted 10 times in 20 starts, including both goals in a 2-1 win for the Norfolk club at Ninian Park. Since his return to Manchester Evans' Premiership chances have been limited but he did manage to make 16 appearances last season, scoring once.
If Dave Jones were to get his man, it would be interesting to see where Evans would fit into City's rigid 4-4-2 system. The young Welsh international would certainly demand assurances of a first-team place, and with Chopra and Bothroyd already established as Jones's first-choice pairing this could prove problematic. Much to his dissatisfaction, in the second half of last season McCormack was often pushed out wide left to accommodate Jones's preferred pairing and the arrival of another striker would do little to ease his concerns. With strong interest expected from the Premiership during the close season, this could be an early sign that the precociously-talented young Scot, City's top scorer during the last campaign, could soon be on his way out of Ninian Park.
Date:Saturday June 20 2009
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