Hull ready to offer Hunt pay rise
HULL CITY are prepared to gamble on a six-month pay rise for Stephen Hunt to fend off interest from Wolves and then sell the Irish international in the summer -- but Birmingham could land the Waterford native now if they stump up £5m.
It's been a strange week for the 28-year-old, who is expected to line out for Hull against Wolves later today despite the fact that the relegation rivals have been in negotiation for his services throughout the build-up.
Mick McCarthy is aware that Hunt would fancy a move to Molineux and is prepared to table a fourth bid in excess of £4m. However, cash-strapped Hull are reluctant to sell their star player to another club battling against the drop.
Earlier this week, Hull chairman Adam Pearson intimated that the Tigers would have to cut the wage bill and listen to offers for all players.
In the short term, though, they are prepared to push the boat out for Hunt, who has excelled since his summer move from Reading, scoring five goals from his midfield berth.
Therefore, they have offered an increase in his £35,000-a-week salary, conscious that it would be a short-term move as their financial problems are so grave that they would have to cash in at the end of the season regardless of whether they avoid the trap door.
Accountants Deloitte predicted before Christmas that the Tigers would need £23m to balance the books if they went down, and £16m if they stayed up.
Wolves capitalised on that situation to make a move for Hunt, who would be attracted by a move to the Midlands and a reunion with Kevin Doyle.
The Molineux club could be tempted into increasing their bid towards the £5m mark by Monday, particularly as Birmingham and another un-named Premier League club have now entered the picture.
If Hull are left with no option but to let the player go, Phil Brown would prefer if he joined a side that is operating in the top half of the table.