Championship Transfer Gossip - Part Two
The latest gossip from the Championship as relegated and promoted sides attempt to adapt to their new surroundings.
News in this edition comes from Newcastle United, Nottingham Forest, Peterborough United, Reading, Scunthorpe United, Sheffield United, Swansea City, Watford and West Bromwich Albion.
For part one click here >>>
Perennial sick-note Michael Owen has aroused the interest of Aston Villa boss Martin O`Neill who looks set to offer the England international a two year contract worth £55,000 a week according to the Birmingham Mail.
Taking into account his poor record with injury in recent times O`Neill will offer the striker the opportunity of a further extension to the deal should it prove effective to both parties.
The Sunderland Echo believes that Newcastle`s bitter rivals could be set to take Sebastien Bassong off the Geordies` hands with Steve Bruce`s Black Cats entering a new era of prosperity in start contrast to their neighbours.
Maligned midfielder Joey Barton could be set to move away from St James Park with Portsmouth being heavily linked once more with his signature. Pompey have been linked with the midfielder in the past and despite Barton`s pledge to stay and help Newcastle, his wages are believed to be excessive.
As Birmingham City continue to look at Doncaster defender Matthew Mills, Forest could be set to make a £2m bid for the highly-rated defender.
They stepped their bid up from the rejected offer of £1.5m, and this latest deal could make Mills not only the highest price paid, but also the highest fee received for a Rovers player having picked up the defender from Manchester City for £300,000.
Long-term target Chris Gunter has become a target for Newcastle United, should they manage to keep Alan Shearer as manager. Forest have been tracking their former loanee with a view to a permanent deal but this latest link with worry Forest fans.
The future of manager Darren Ferguson once again comes under the spotlight with West Bromwich Albion boss Tony Mowbray heavily linked with Scottish giants Glasgow Celtic.
Ferguson is being tipped to succeed Mowbray should he leave the Hawthornes but chairman Darragh MacAnthony is reluctant to let his manager go, recently declining Reading permission to speak to Fergie Jnr.
Grimsby youngster Ryan Bennett could be set to rekindle his move to London Road despite Grimbsy branding Posh`s original bid as derisory. Agent Darren Bossons said: 'We will be looking to speak to Grimsby.
'If something could be agreed with Peterborough, it would be a fantastic opportunity for Ryan.'
Following their failure to achieve promotion back to the Premier League combined with the loss of their manager Steve Coppell Reading are entering a new phase under Brendan Rodgers and subsequently players are being linked away from the Madejski Stadium.
Irish duo Kevin Doyle and Stephen Hunthave been linked by the Daily Star with a £7m swoop from Everton and manager Rodgers conceded it will be difficult to hold on to these players.
He said: "There is absolutely no doubt that guys like Kevin Doyle are Premier League players.
"When you come out of the Premier League, especially in the second year of your parachute payments, it becomes very, very difficult to hold on to those players."
Nigel Adkins has been linked with several players following the Iron`s return to the Championship at the first attempt. Former West Brom and Hereford defender Tamika Mkandawire is reportedly interested in moving to Glanford Park form Leyton Orient as he looks to play Championship football.
Hartlepool United contract rebel Michael Nelson looks set to leave Victoria Park and Scunthorpe along with Norwich City are favourites to capture the signature of the Pools skipper. The defender links continue with the possible move taking Southend United defender Peter Clarke to Scunthorpe as Adkins raids League One for defensive options.
Two strikers are also being linked with a move to Glanford Park with Stockport County`s Ollie Johnson and Lisburn Distillery`s Curtis Allen. Johnson played a key role in Stockport`s season last time out with Allen formerly of League Two side AFC Bournemouth.
Young defender Kyle Naughton looks set to leave Bramall Lane after it became apparent that European giants Manchester United are interested in his signature. His asking price seems to rise by the day with £7m mooted as a possible figure.
With Coventry boss Chris Coleman rumoured for the vacant post at Swansea City, Sheffield United coach Gary Speed could also make the step up to management by leaving Kevin Blackwell at Bramall Lane according to The Sun.
Andrew Surman could be set to swap the red and white of Southampton for Sheffield United but states that a serious bid has not been made as yet, so there is not a decision to make regarding his future at St Marys.
He told the BBC: "At this stage I haven't thought any further than going back to Southampton for pre-season on 22 June.
'When a serious bid comes in then that's when you have to review your situation, but we're not at that stage yet.'
The Swans must now search for a replacement for outgoing boss Roberto Martinez with several names linked with the post. Chris Coleman and Gary Speed are two names mentioned already as being in the frame.
John Hartson has come out today in the hope that his home town club will give him his first opportunity in management with Falkirk boss John Hughes also in the frame to succeed the Spaniard Martinez.
Chairman Huw Jenkins indicated that the Swans have 30 'very, very good contenders` for the post but is not expected to rush an appointment.
The managerial position at Watford is up for grabs after Brendan Rodgers departed for Reading and two men reported to be in line to replace him are St Johnstone boss Derek McInnes and former caretaker boss Malky Mackay.
There is perceived to be a third, unnamed candidate on the list to replace Rodgers who couldn`t resist the call to return to Reading.
Meanwhile in transfer news Birmingham City continue to look to the Championship for defensive solutions as the Sunday Mercury link them with a move for Hornets defender Mike Williamson. His central defensive partner at Wycombe Wanderers was Roger Johnson another potential signing for the Blues.
Baggies boss Tony Mowbray is being heavily tipped to take the vacant post at Celtic but West Brom have insisted they have not had contact from the Scottish giants.
A figure of £1.4m has been quoted in recent reports as a possible compensation figure to take Mowbray north of the border. Should they lose Mowbray a surprising candidate has emerged in Alan Shearer but Baggies chiefs have already laughed off these suggestions. Another contender is Peterborough boss Darren Ferguson
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