Albion offer £2m plus Earnshaw for Johnson

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The Independent Football

West Bromwich Albion have joined Birmingham City in the race to sign the Crystal Palace striker Andy Johnson. Albion have made an initial £2m bid plus the Welsh international Robert Earnshaw as they try to lure Johnson away from Selhurst Park following the Eagles' relegation from the Barclays Premiership.

West Bromwich Albion have joined Birmingham City in the race to sign the Crystal Palace striker Andy Johnson. Albion have made an initial £2m bid plus the Welsh international Robert Earnshaw as they try to lure Johnson away from Selhurst Park following the Eagles' relegation from the Barclays Premiership.

The Palace chairman Simon Jordan is understood to have knocked back the bid, while Johnson has publicly pledged his future to Palace. However, the feeling remains that Johnson will have to stay in the top flight if he wants to realise his England ambitions after making the initial breakthrough with Sven Goran Eriksson's squad.

It is also a clear indication of Albion's intentions to establish themselves in the top flight that they are prepared to sign a player of the quality of Johnson, who scored 22 goals last season.

Steve McClaren, the Middlesbrough manager, is optimistic that the club can keep the Dutch midfielder Boudewijn Zenden as negotiations over a new deal with the player continue.

The 28-year-old has rejected the club's initial offer, but McClaren is confident that decision was just a part of the bargaining process and he is hopeful that an agreement can be reached. "Yes, I am confident," he said. "Bolo has been terrific for this football club."

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