WOLVES have told Sunderland to increase their bid for Steven Fletcher to at least £12million as they prepare to play hardball over their prized asset.
The much talked about deal IS still expected to go through, but Molineux chief executive Jez Moxey is prepared to stand his ground in an attempt to squeeze more money out of the Black Cats.
The Journal yesterday contacted Moxey, who refused to say how much money it would take for him to agree to sell the 25-year-old Scotland striker.
The Wolves supremo said: “We, as a club, won’t be drawn into talking about an offer for any of our players in public.” Moxey then referred us to a club statement put out earlier in the day.
That read: “Our best players are not for sale; we want to keep them and build the strongest possible team for the season ahead.
“We will do everything we can to retain the players we want to keep and continue to look to strengthen with new signings.”
Sunderland tabled a £10m bid for the Scot on Sunday and had hoped that everything would be tied up over the next few days.
The Black Cats first team have
no friendly games this week, which would allow manager Martin O’Neill time to concentrate on securing the second signing of this summer following Carlos Cuellar arrived earlier this month.
Fletcher’s agent Scott Fisher admitted yesterday that Sunderland was the former Hibs and Burnley player’s No.1 choice.
He said: “We’ve always carefully managed where Steven goes next and I think that Martin O’Neill would get the best out of him.”
Fletcher has not, so far, handed in an official transfer request, but this is something he may be forced into if Wolves continue to refuse what would, for him, be a dream move.
The striker has managed just 45 minutes of football this pre-season when he captained Wolves in the second-half of a match in Ireland against Bray Wanderers.
Fletcher scored two goals in a 5-1 win.
He is currently undergoing treatment for a slight ankle knock which is not thought to be serious.
Sunderland midfielder David Meyler, meanwhile, alerted his Twitter followers to the fact he has been laid low with a bout of tonsillitis.