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Would Heskey be a Zamora upgrade?

I was quite surprised to read in yesterday’s papers that Emile Heksey had said he will have to consider his Aston Villa future in January should he not be getting more game time. He’s always struck me as a rather smart foootballer who would rather not get caught up in the media transfer firestorm.

Lo and behold, it didn’t take long for someone to link him with Fulham. There was a brief discussion of this idea on the radio this morning (so short that I only managed to catch the tail end of it). Hodgson obviously likes the big man, shorter man combination – that’s why he’s been so keen to play Zamora and Andy Johnson together. Heskey’s probably a better forward (to borrow Nick’s description) than Zamora but you’ll still be left with the same problem – he’s not likely to bag you all that many goals.

If Capello is to be as strict with his requirements for his World Cup squad, then Heskey probably needs to be playing regular first-team football to make the plane to South Africa. But Capello’s insistence that he’ll be picking the England team based on form makes Darren Bent’s exclusion something of a mystery. Martin O’Neill likes Heskey and may well give a bit more of a go at Villa Park but, in the event, that the forward decides to leave – where would he go?

None of the ‘big four’ are likely to be clamouring for his signature and I shouldn’t imagine Spurs or Manchester City will be banging down the door. Would David Moyes be tempted given Everton’s striking problems? A fee of £3m – as quoted in the press today – would fit our budget but whether it happens is anyone’s guess.

Of course, England have never won the World Cup without a Fulham player in the team.

Bobby Zamora is our Emile Heksey

CCN’s Rich has an interesting piece up at the Times website comparing the merits of Fulham’s Bobby Zamora and England’s Emile Heskey. Both are unfairly mocked and criticised for not scoring enough, but as I hinted earlier, simple goals totals just don’t tell the whole story.

The only point I’d disagree with Rich on is Alan Shearer. We came mightily close to winning Euro ’96 with him up front (he showed real self belief to come off  prolonged goal drought to have such a good tournament) – and he was a frighteningly good finisher at international level. Feel free to share your thoughts below.

Fulham make £3m Heskey move

Emile Heskey appears set for a swift return to the Premiership after Fulham became the first club to register a formal bid for the Birmingham City forward, believed to be in the region of £3m.

Fulham appear set to lose Steed Malbranque to Liverpool or, more probably, the French champions Lyon and are keen to recruit Heskey, who prior to his club record £6.25m move to Birmingham from Liverpool had averaged a goal for every three Premiership starts.

Heskey won 43 international caps with England but despite the injury problems Sven-Goran Eriksson has had to deal with among his strikers, was overlooked for the current World Cup. The 28-year-old has had a season to forget as Birmingham were relegated and he scored in only three of his 34 Premiership appearances.

Despite the disappointment of last season, there is bound to be competition for Heskey. The striker hit 10 goals in the 2004-5 season as Birmingham finished 12th and, with Portsmouth, Wigan Athletic and Bolton Wanderers also in the market for a forward of Heskey’s stature, he is bound to generate interest.

Fulham have already been active in the transfer market with the arrival of Jimmy Bullard from Wigan after a £2.5m bid triggered a release clause in the 27-year-old’s contract.

Fulham have also been linked with a return to the JJB Stadium with a bid for the striker Jason Roberts but have been unable to open dialogue with the Wigan board.

Though Roberts is keen on a move away from Wigan, after receiving a contract extension offer he considered unacceptable, it may require Heskey’s departure from Birmingham to spark a series of transfers that would precipitate his move.