Friday 15 December 2017

Brentford sticking to €10m price tag for Ireland's Alan Judge

Alan Judge
Alan Judge
Aidan Fitzmaurice

Aidan Fitzmaurice

Championship side Brentford are sticking to their guns and their reported price tag of £8million - ahead of any possible sale of Irish star Alan Judge.

Dubliner Judge is very much in demand after an impressive run of form with the Bees, as Championship rivals Burnley and Sheffield Wednesday have made formal bids for Judge, who has scored 10 goals this season and is expected to make his senior Ireland debut in the March friendly games against Switzerland and Slovakia.

Judge put transfer speculation to one side as he played and scored for Brentford against his potential employers, Burnley, a 3-1 defeat for the Bees. He emerged with credit from the weekend action, unlike his Brentford team-mate James Tarkowski, also a target for Burnley.

Tarkowski refused to play for the Bees against Burnley as he's keen to force a move, and Tarkowski has since been fined by the club.

"Alan Judge showed why so many people are looking at him and aware of him and why our valuation is right," says Brentford boss Dean Smith.

"He's a catalyst for what we do. He's a really good player and a good person. Heads can get turned, but some handle it better than others and Alan Judge epitomises what this football club is about."

Judge has 18 months left on his deal at Brentford and is said to be settled in London and in no hurry to leave, though Burnley - now up to fourth in the Championship table after a run of three wins from four league games - are eager to land the 27-year-old.

Clarets boss Sean Dyche admits that a bid was lodged, though he does dispute a claim that his side are willing to spend £8m (€10m).

"He's a decent player, they've got some very good players. There's been a conversation between our owner and their owner," he said. "But it's Burnley Football Club. £8million! My point is, that's how far-fetched these stories can be."

Judge, capped at all levels bar senior, has re-emerged on the international scene on the back of his impressive form with the Bees and only last month, Martin O'Neill made it clear that Judge was very much in his thoughts for the opening games of 2016, the friendly clashes with Switzerland and Slovakia.

"We've got these games in March and there's a couple of players that have been on the periphery of things that have not had a chance, and could maybe have thought they should have had a chance," said O'Neill.

"Players like Alan Judge, for instance, who is doing very, very well, so I'd like to include them. I don't want to give out caps on a nilly-willy basis but by the same token here, there's one or two players who are doing very well and might just deserve that chance at international level."

Judge moved a step closer to an international breakthrough when he made the bench for the first time for the second leg of the play-off against Bosnia and has been told by both Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane that his chance will come.

"I feel I can make the step up, but I know I need to prove that. I have spoken to Martin and to Roy, Martin pulled me aside before the second game with Bosnia and told me I'd get my debut in March," Judge told The Herald after Euro qualification was achieved.

"But I can't assume that will just happen, I need to make sure I am performing by then.

"If I keep playing well, scoring goals and creating chances, I will have a chance.

"All I can do is keep up those levels for my club, and hope that I can add something to the squad if I do get in the Irish squad."

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