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Gunn set to miss out on targets

PUBLISHED: 08:00 10 July 2009 | UPDATED: 10:42 06 July 2010

Bryan Gunn's summer transfer activities suffered a series of body blows yesterday. Just 24 hours after solving a major headache with the signing of Aussie goalkeeper Michael Theoklitos, the City boss appears destined to miss out on the man he wants to fill the other gaping hole in his plans - striker Alan Lee.

Bryan Gunn's summer transfer activities suffered a series of body blows yesterday.

Just 24 hours after solving a major headache with the signing of Aussie goalkeeper Michael Theoklitos, the City boss appears destined to miss out on the man he wants to fill the other gaping hole in his plans - striker Alan Lee.

And just to rub salt into that particular wound, Derby striker Liam Dickinson, who has also been on Gunn's radar, appears to be on the move elsewhere.

Gunn's problems in acquiring a new striker were compounded by news from north of the border that Motherwell midfielder Stephen Hughes was stalling on an offer from Carrow Road, meaning the City boss looks likely to turn to the “other irons in the fire” as he attempts to get the major players in place before pre-season begins in earnest next week.

Lee has openly admitted his preference for a return to City, having finished last season on loan from Crystal Palace - but that desire appears to come at a price.

“We're a long way short of doing a deal,” said Palace boss Neil Warnock. “I can't see a move to Norwich coming off.

“Firstly the fee is nowhere near what we value him at and their wage offer is nowhere near what Alan is getting.

“Alan wants to go there, but he and his agent are not daft - if Norwich can't come up with the goods they will have to look at other options.”

Warnock has confirmed that Lee will be part of the Eagles squad when they jet off for their pre-season tour of America today.

He said: “We want to keep him fit.”

Warnock says he has received an offer from Championship side Barnsley for the former Ipswich front-man.

Gunn has had offers rejected by Derby for Dickinson, who now appears to be heading for the south coast.

Dickinson's agent, Phil Sproson told Sky Sports - who were also claiming that Blackpool are preparing a bid for Matty Pattison - that Brighton are in talks with Derby and a deal could be done in the near future.

“There is a strong interest from Brighton in Liam and talks are ongoing,” he said. “The two clubs are trying to agree a fee and I don't think they are too far apart.”

Reports from Scotland yesterday claimed that Gunn has offered a three-year contract to the out-of-contract Hughes, even quoting a salary of £7,000 a week.

And while the 26-year-old former Rangers and Leicester player has held talks with Gunn, he appears to be holding out for an offer from the Championship.

“Stephen just wants a little more time to think it over,” said his agent, Tom Callaghan.

“I wouldn't say it is totally dead in the water, but we know there could be interest from Championship clubs. Obviously there will be movement at other sides with players leaving.

“That could open the door, but Stephen won't be rushed.”

Hearts and Aberdeen are also said to be interested, but reportedly can't match the Norwich terms which would double his salary at Fir Park, where Motherwell are still hoping to keep him with a new deal.

Gunn has also been linked with winger Jason Demetriou, who is currently with Leyton Orient - although the 21-year-old would appear to be out of their price range.

Newcastle, Cardiff, Plymouth and QPR as well as City's League One rivals Charlton are all said to be interested in the Londoner, who has been valued at around £750,000.

Demetriou has scored nine goals in 122 first-team appearances for League One Orient and has been capped three times for Cyprus.

Pattison may receive some financial help for his cause if he sells Pattison to Blackpool. Pattison fell out of favour during Gunn's reign at the end of last season and has said he may have to leave if he is unable to command a regular first team squad place.

The South African-born midfielder was Glenn Roeder's first permanent signing in January last year, turning a loan deal from Newcastle into a permanent move. He has two years remaining on his contract and Gunn will be hoping to recoup a sizeable percentage of the estimated £500,000 City paid for him.

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