ALBION SET FOR CARRICK TALKS
West Brom have been given permission to hold talks with West Ham midfielder
Michael Carrick - with the clubs understood to be close to agreeing a fee
for the former England Under-21 player.
Albion boss Gary Megson has been tracking Carrick ever since the Hammers
missed out on a return to the Premiership at the end of last season.
Carrick is in the final year of his contract and Portsmouth have already had
a Ł3.5million bid accepted by the Hammers.
Arsenal expressed an interest last week although they have now cooled their
attempts to land Carrick.
But Megson remains keen and he said: "One of the things that makes me laugh
is people are saying we have now joined the race for Michael Carrick.
"We've been after Michael since the beginning of June when we realised West
Ham weren't going to get promoted. We tried to get him then and it has been
an ongoing process for quite a while.
"There is a bit of negotiating to be done - not from our point of view in
terms of finance but to see if Michael actually wants to join any club.
"We've spoken with West Ham. That's as far as we've gone. The financial side
is the chairman's domain but I think we are close to agreeing a fee and
effectively been given permission to speak to the player."
Megson added: "Michael is a good player and we've admired his passing, his
vision and his quality. If we can get him then it will be terrific.
"If not, then we will move on and try and get other players. We need quality
players at the club and we need more and more of them."
Megson is also maintaining his interest in Anderlecht striker Aruna Dindane
after the Baggies tabled a Ł3million-plus bid
But whether Anderlecht remain in the Champions League - they were beaten 1-0
by Benfica in the first leg of their current qualifying tie - may hold the
key to whether Dindane is allowed to leave.
Megson said: "We are trying to get an agreement with Anderlecht for
Dindane's services but we are not there yet. The transfer window closes on
August 31 and we will keep trying.
"Whether or not Anderlecht remain in the Champions League, is bound to have
a big bearing on things."