Doyle set for pay cut as Boro loan looms
KEVIN DOYLE and Shane Long could both move from the English midlands to the north-east during the transfer window, with Middlesbrough lining up a loan deal for Doyle and Hull in advanced talks with West Brom about agreeing a fee for Long.
The good friends are both settled in their current homes from a personal point of view but, football-wise, their futures are uncertain.
Wolves are keen to remove Doyle from their payroll, especially as the £40,000-a-week striker is no longer a guaranteed starter even at League One level. The Wexford native started just one game over the Christmas period and could fall further down the pecking order following the arrival of Nouha Dicko from Wigan.
Manager Kenny Jackett has stressed that he still wants to bring in another striker as he is unhappy with Wolves' goalscoring return -- Doyle has struck just three times this season, with the last of those coming against Stevenage on November 2.
Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka, who is benefiting from Shay Given's experience on loan from Aston Villa, now has his eyes on Doyle. However, Wolves are reluctant to enter into a deal which would see them pay part of their player's wages while he lines out elsewhere.
Roger Johnson and Stephen Ward both had to take a pay cut before they went out on loan, and Doyle is likely to be asked to do the same.
West Brom appear willing to sell Long regardless of the player's wishes. The clubs are close to agreeing a fee and Hull manager Steve Bruce is willing to offer the Tipperary native a pay rise from his current £30,000-a-week to land his man.
On the day he again broke Hull City's transfer record to sign Nikica Jelavic, owner Assem Allam threatened to walk away from the club "in 24 hours" if the English FA blocks him from changing the name to Hull Tigers.
Allam wants to drop 'City' from the 109-year-old name and rebrand his Premier League club, but the idea has been met by fierce opposition from supporters.
"No one on earth is allowed to question my business decisions -- I won't allow it," Allam said. "And I'll give you my CV to give you comfort and show you what I have achieved. I'm here to save the club and manage the club for the benefit of the community -- it will never, ever be the other way around. But the community can say 'go away', and I will go within 24 hours."
Meanwhile, Stephen Ireland has finally completed his transfer from Villa to Stoke City for an undisclosed fee. The Cobh man was an expensive failure in Birmingham, and the fact that he has been given only an 18-month contract by Stoke suggests he has work to do to secure his long-term future.
Ireland's weekly salary has dropped from £60,000 to about £35,000.
Elsewhere, former Irish international Liam Lawrence has officially parted ways with Greek side PAOK. Lawrence relocated in 2012 and initially made a positive impression before injury affected his progress.
He then found himself out of favour with manager Huub Stevens. The winger has been training with barnsley with a view to earning a contract.