STEVE Bruce’s transfer kitty will be swollen by £1.5million now that Michael Chopra – sold by Sunderland two years ago – has completed his transfer to Ipswich Town, writes GRAEME ANDERSON.
The Geordie striker, who re-joined Cardiff City from Sunderland in a move worth £4m in July, 2009, has swapped Wales for East Anglia, with cash-strapped Cardiff forced to sell their free-scoring forward.
But the hard-up Welsh club face the prospect of seeing none of the money and instead handing the entire £1.5m over to Sunderland as their final payment of his original transfer fee.
The 27-year-old, who hit 25 goals in 73 league games in his second stint at Cardiff, has penned a three-year contract at Portman Road.
And he said: “I enjoyed my time at Cardiff but this is a new start and I’m looking forward to it.
“I spoke to the manager (Paul Jewell) and was impressed with his plans for the club.
“I know some of the players here as well and from talking to them, it was clear there is real ambition at Ipswich.”
The signing ends a long Ipswich interest in Chopra.
Former manager Roy Keane, who bought and sold Chopra at Sunderland, tried hard to sign him again from Cardiff and offered £2.5m. Now Jewell has succeeded with a fee of £1m less.
Cardiff will appoint a new manager to replace Dave Jones in the coming days, but, whoever the new man is, he will have a tough job on his hands at a club paying the price for missing out on promotion to the Premier League.
If and when Chopra’s move is confirmed it will leave the Bluebirds with only two strikers – Jon Parkin and first year senior professional Nat Jarvis.
Seven loan players have returned to their parent clubs, including captain Craig Bellamy, while potential Sunderland target Jay Bothroyd, along with Chris Burke, Adam Matthews and Gavin Rae have all moved on, with their contracts expiring.
For Sunderland boss Steve Bruce it will be a timely boost as he seeks to strengthen Sunderland on a number of fronts.
The Black Cats boss is finalising Bosman moves for goalkeeper Keiren Westwood and midfielder Seb Larsson, but is also battling on a number of fronts to reinforce his squad with quality players.
The Chopra fee is not a massive help in the grand scheme of things, at least not by Premier League standards.
But it’s a bonus which will give Bruce just a little bit extra manouevrability in the transfer market.