West Brom have emerged as the favourites to secure the services of Birmingham’s Ben Foster for the 2011-2012 season according to the Guardian,
Although Birmingham have been reimbursed to the tune of £15m for the sale of Roger Johnson and Craig Gardner to Wolves and Sunderland respectively and defection of previous manager Alex McLeish to bitter rivals Aston Villa already this summer, the club are set to continue to undertake cost-cutting and revenue generating measures to try to balance their books, which the Daily Mail claim displayed a £24m deficit in June 2010.
Subsequently one such measure is set to involve Birmingham endeavouring to achieve promotion back to the Premier League without Ben Foster, by allowing the ex-England Internationalist to join a Premier League club, who would pick – up his annual salary rumoured to be £1.5m, on a year long loan deal for a fee thought by the Guardian to be in the region of £1m, with the newspaper also reporting that talks over such an arrangement are underway with West Brom, with Swansea also an interested party.
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Birmingham are likely to implement a clause in their speculated lease of Foster according to the Daily Mail, whereby the keeper’s loan club would have the opportunity to sign him permanently for approximately £4m should the Blues fail to secure a return to the English top-flight at the first time of asking.
However as previously indicated it is West Brom, who the Guardian report as having forged ahead in the race to acquire Foster, with Baggies boss Roy Hodgson sounding very positive on the prospect of bringing in a keeper of the former Manchester United man’s quality. Specifically Hodgson told Sky Sports: “I am aware of our interest in Ben Foster but I am not aware of how far down the line we are with our negotiations with Birmingham, so I can’t make any comments on that. But Ben Foster is a goalkeeper who interest us and if we can get him to WBA on loan or on a permanent deal, that would be something that we would be very happy about.”
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