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(UK time) 10:01:07

Premier League

17 April 2012

West Brom and Aston Villa to scrap over former England striker

Eight-cap Andy Johnson interesting Midlands clubs as Fulham contract winds down

West Brom and Aston Villa to scrap over former England striker

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With his contract due to expire in the summer, Andy Johnson is set to become one of the hottest free transfers available, with West Brom and Aston Villa declaring an early interest.

Johnson has been offered an extension to his Fulham contract, but is unwilling to accept a two-year deal at Craven Cottage, instead keen to obtain the security that comes with a three-year deal.

He has hit 11 goals this term in a season where he has been in and out of the side, though his exit could pave the way for a permanent move for Russian striker Pavel Pogrebnyak, and manager Martin Jol may therefore not see the retention of Johnson as a priority.

The vultures are beginning to circle in light of this, and Johnson’s former boss Roy Hodgson will hope to offer the 31-year-old the lengthier contract that he craves at West Brom.

Hodgson is a big fan of Johnson’s tireless endeavour, and is desperate to shake up his attacking options, with Peter Odemwingie, Chris Wood and Simon Cox all potential outgoings in the striker department come the summer.

Baggies boss Hodgson would free up the necessary wages to attract Johnson by letting Odemwingie go, so could welcome the interest in the Nigerian that he was so keen to fend off last summer.

Meanwhile, Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish is also willing to offer former Birmingham striker Johnson a return to the Midlands.

McLeish has been told by frustrated Villa owner Randy Lerner that he must re-build his squad with free transfers, and Johnson fits the bill, though his excessive wage demands could prove a stumbling block.

Lerner has placed a £40,000 per week wage cap on new Villa signings, and this could put West Brom in the driving seat for his signature, indicating that Johnson could be set for a reunion with his former Fulham boss at the Hawthorns.

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