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Hammers receive Ashton warning

PUBLISHED: 11:27 22 May 2008 | UPDATED: 13:19 05 October 2010

By JONATHAN CLEGG WEST Ham have been urged to do whatever it takes to persuade Dean Ashton to sign a new deal at the club after a first round of contract talks ended in deadlock. Ashton has just two years left to run on his current contract and is anxiou

By JONATHAN CLEGG

WEST Ham have been urged to do whatever it takes to persuade Dean Ashton to sign a new deal at the club after a first round of contract talks ended in deadlock.

Ashton has just two years left to run on his current contract and is anxious to reach an agreement on his long-term future at Upton Park.

The 24-year-old's representatives met with the Hammers board last week to thrash out the terms of a new deal, but the talks broke off on Friday with the two parties unable to come to an agreement.

West Ham chief executive Scott Duxbury admitted that further discussions have been scheduled for a fortnight's time after the two sides failed to agree on the terms of a new deal.

"We had a very productive meeting. Dean wants to stay and we want him to stay," said Duxbury.

"We are committed to finding an agreement on a new long-term contract."

Ashton has scored five goals in his past eight appearances for the Hammers, including a blistering 88th-minute equaliser in West Ham's 2-2 draw against Aston Villa on the final day of the season.

The former Norwich striker finished the campaign as the club's leading scorer with 11 goals, earning him a call-up into Fabio Capello's England squad for the international friendly matches against the United States and Trinidad and Tobago.

Yet Ashton has fallen behind many of his team-mates on the club's wage scale after West Ham declined to offer him improved terms last summer.

His return to form following a season on the sidelines with an ankle injury has seen Ashton linked with a number of Premier League rivals, with reports last weekend suggesting Spurs are keen to bring the target man to White Hart Lane.

Hammers goalkeeper Robert Green has warned the club that it is vital that Ashton remains at Upton Park.

Green, who was voted West Ham player of the season, believes the striker is a unique talent and crucial to the club's future ambitions.

"He's a tremendous player and talent and it's massively important that he stays at West Ham," said Green.

"Anybody who saw the Aston Villa game saw first-hand what he can do. He just has something other people haven't got.

"This season has been difficult for him because everyone was expecting so much, but he came back and showed what he can do. He's done as well as any player and he's been called into the England squad - and rightly so.


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