Ball in Ashton's court after Crewe accept Norwich bid

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The Independent Football

Norwich are set to sign the Crewe striker Dean Ashton after making a successful bid for the Championship side's top scorer.

He was heading to Carrow Road for talks yesterday after a written offer from the Canaries was accepted. "The ball is in his court, and he might have even signed for them by the end of the day," the Crewe manager Dario Gradi said.

Only on Thursday, Gradi's Norwich counterpart Nigel Worthington had urged the club's fans to be patient as far as the transfer window was concerned, despite having hinted that Ashton's asking price would be within his budget. The Canaries' budget is reportedly in the region of £2m - most of which was raised by fans waiving the right to redeem dividends on a recent share issue.

"Tottenham spoke to us in the summer but didn't want to spend too much money," Gradi said. "They have watched him since but have not spoken to us. I've also spoken to Rick Parry [the chief executive] at Liverpool because they expressed an interest in the past - but they are in the market for a more experienced centre-forward. I've made no secret of the fact that I would like Dean to stay into the summer - but with Norwich trying to retain their Premiership status, the deal is now or never for them."

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