Thursday, 16 June 2011

Leicester £5m bid for Nicky Maynard

Leicester are ready to launch a bid for Bristol City striker Nicky Maynard.Foxes manager Sven-Goran Eriksson is in the market for a goal-scoring forward and will turn his attention to City's star player if he fails to sign Yakubu from Everton.The 28-year-old Nigerian international spent a large part of last season on loan at the Walkers Stadium and is wanted by Eriksson as he attempts to return Leicester to the Premier League.
But reports on Merseyside suggest Yakubu, who is reluctant to drop down to the Championship, has agreed terms with Everton and is set to sign a new deal which will see him stay at Goodison Park for a further year.
If that happens, former England boss Eriksson is expected to test City's resolve by making them an offer for Maynard.The former Crewe Alexandra forward has only a year left on his contract and is stalling on signing a new one, prompting speculation that City might decide to cash in on their star striker rather than risk him becoming a free agent next summer.Sources in Leicester suggest former Foxes chief executive Lee Hughes, who left the club last week, has already spoken to City about Maynard, something club officials in Bristol vigorously deny.Whatever the truth of the matter, Leicester are keen on City's £2.25 million record-signing and, providing they attain assurances Maynard has fully recovered from the knee injury that caused him to miss the first six months of last season, are likely to make their interest formal if Yakubu commits his future to Everton.Maynard proved he had lost none of his predatory instincts in front of goal, scoring six times in ten Championship starts after returning from knee surgery in March and, should Leicester use Maynard's recent medical history as a means to drive the price down, City will rebuff any approach.Robins manager Keith Millen is desperate to keep Maynard at the club and plans to hold further talks with the 24-year-old striker when he returns from holiday later this month, aimed at persuading him to pen a new deal.

But any offer in excess of £5m might well test the resolve of City chairman Colin Sexstone and chief investor Steve Lansdown, who are concerned by the delay in Maynard signing a new contract and fear their prize asset could leave for nothing at the end of next season.

If Maynard continues to stall, City officials will have to choose between the risk of selling arguably their most potent striker to a Championship rival or allowing his transfer value to depreciate as he enters the final year of his contract.

Foxes boss Eriksson hopes to conclude a deal for David Nugent this weekend, the former England striker who is a free agent after leaving Portsmouth.

But he wants to further strengthen his strike-force and has money to spend.

Although in some respects a move to Leicester will be viewed as a sideways move for Maynard, the Asian Football Investments group, who own Leicester City, are hugely ambitious and are prepared to invest large sums of their own money in pursuit of Premier League status.

But City boss Millen also harbours ambitions of winning promotion to the Premier League and will argue that Maynard's goals are vital if the club is to return to the top-flight for the first time in 32 years.

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