RELEGATED Wolves have slapped a £10m transfer fee on the head of their top scorer Steven Fletcher - but that inflated asking price won't scare off Sunderland.
The Journal understands Martin O’Neill sees the 26-year-old as the man who can cure his side’s obvious goalscoring problems next season, and is willing to spend a large part of his summer transfer budget on the player.
Despite Wolves going down at the weekend, they are still in a position to demand such a fee for their most highly-rated player.
That’s because a number of clubs both in England and abroad have expressed an interest in a player who was the Black Country outfit’s top scorer for the past two seasons.
Wolves chief executive Jez Moxey admitted yesterday that he expected to lose Fletcher and some others in the close season, after Sunday’s home defeat by Manchester City condemned the club to a relegation that had been on the cards for several months.
The Molineux outfit would expect to at least get back the £6.5m they paid Burnley for the former Hibs player two years ago – however, with so many clubs on the trail of the player who has scored ten Premier League goals this season, they are confident of making a sizeable profit.
O’Neill will not have fortunes to spend and his team’s recent slide down the league will not have helped his summer budget, because every position is worth £750,000.
But with Asamoah Gyan, Ahmed Elmohamady and Cristian Riveros certain to leave Sunderland in the summer, who will all command a fee, the manager will have money to spend and at least one established Premier League striker is a priority. It was hoped that Wolves would be in a weak position when it came to Fletcher as he will be desperate to leave and the club will need the cash as the face up to life out of the top tier.