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Last Updated: Sunday, 22 January 2006, 11:05 GMT
West Ham agree 7.25m Ashton fee
Dean Ashton
Dean Ashton joined Norwich last season from Crewe
West Ham have had a 7.25m bid accepted for Norwich City striker Dean Ashton.

Ashton, 22, has agreed personal terms and will undergo a medical - with the Hammers hoping to unveil him before Monday night's game against Fulham.

The Hammers are to pay 7m, plus a conditional 250,000, while Norwich have negotiated a 15% sell-on clause.

Ashton, a former England Under-21 international, scored 18 goals in 46 games for Norwich following a 3m move to Carrow Road from Crewe a year ago.

Crewe will receive 1.5m up front as part of a sell-on clause included in that deal.

Norwich will receive an extra 125,000 if Ashton makes a competitive appearance for the senior England team and an extra 125,000 if West Ham qualify for Europe while Ashton is at the club.

Hammers manager Alan Pardew is a long-term admirer of Ashton and was keen to bolster his forward line, despite persuading Bobby Zamora to sign a new contract on 18 January.

West Ham are a big club, I am ambitious and the chance of a swift step up to the Premiership is too good to turn down
Dean Ashton

West Ham's managing director Paul Aldridge told his club's website: "Alan Pardew has identified Dean as a player who can play a key role in helping the club to reach a new level.

"We have therefore worked extremely hard to ensure that the transfer goes ahead.

"We are paying a club record transfer fee for Dean because we feel that, at 22, he represents an investment that can benefit West Ham United for years to come at the highest level."

Ashton, who failed a late fitness test before Norwich's home defeat by Watford on Saturday, said he was looking forward to making a return to the top flight.

He told Norwich's website: "I have had a great year with Norwich and I would like to sincerely thank the fans and everyone I have worked with at Colney and Carrow Road.

"West Ham are a big club, I am ambitious and the chance of a swift step up to the Premiership is too good to turn down.

"I spoke to Norwich manager Nigel Worthington and the board and told them I wanted to pursue this opportunity. I'd like to thank Norwich for understanding that and allowing myself and my representative to talk to West Ham."

Worthington feels the deal is in the best interest of all parties, adding: "We are always committed to trying to keep our best players at the club.

"But the size of the bid, coupled with Dean's desire to make the move happen, meant that after talking it through with the board and the lad himself, we have decided to accept this offer.

"If the move goes through, I would like to place on record my thanks to Dean for his contribution and his professionalism during his time at Norwich and wish him all the very best in his future career."


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