Wednesday 17 January 2018

Paul Lambert hints he may make Hoolahan offer

Wes Hoolahan of Norwich City is challenged by Chris Smalling of Manchester United
Wes Hoolahan of Norwich City is challenged by Chris Smalling of Manchester United
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

PAUL LAMBERT has provided a detailed sketch of the type of player he wants to sign in the January transfer window and it could easily be confused as a description of Wes Hoolahan.

The Aston Villa manager is keen to bring the Dubliner to Villa Park having worked with him at Norwich and, while he has declined to comment while Hoolahan is contracted elsewhere, the musings on his squad's weaknesses are informative.

"We don't have a specialist attacking midfielder -- I call them No 10s," said Lambert. "Players who are prepared to take a chance and take risks are important. If you can get somebody like that in your side, they can make things happen. We don't have that special type of player who knows how to get into little pockets on the pitch and create chances. They're worth their weight in gold if you can get them -- and pretty dear!"

However, Lambert will not have to break the bank to bring Hoolahan to Birmingham. An initial fee of £1.5m has been mentioned for a player who is under contract for another 18 months.

Norwich may look for more but Hoolahan is 31 which means there is little chance that sell-on value will be factored into any transfer deal. Therefore, a bid in excess of £2m would give Hughton serious food for thought.

He invested in strikers last summer, signing Gary Hooper and Ricky van Wolfswinkel and bringing in Johan Elmander on loan. It has left little room for Hoolahan (right), who has been restricted to five league starts this season, although four of those have come in the last six weeks.

Hughton stopped short of saying the Dubliner was not for sale at the weekend, saying, "Would I accept a bid for Wes? At the moment it's hypothetical."

The former Ireland full-back's preference for two strikers means Hoolahan is unlikely to get a regular run in the side if he stays, whereas he thrived under Lambert.

Porto's Belgian playmaker Steven Defour is an alternative option for Lambert, who is under pressure following Saturday's FA Cup defeat to Sheffield United.

Irish Independent

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