Huddersfield Town: Campbell target as Terriers look to replace Rhodes

SIMON Grayson says his phone has been ‘red hot’ fielding calls from top-flight clubs offering players as he works feverishly to bring in a beat-the-deadline replacement for Jordan Rhodes.

Huddersfield Town’s very own goal machine completed his record-breaking £8m move to Blackburn Rovers yesterday – the highest fee paid outside the Premier League for a player in England and equals Rovers’ record, £8m for Andy Cole – with manager Grayson focusing all his energies on bringing in a new recruit to fill the considerable striking shoes of Rhodes ahead of tonight’s transfer deadline.

Grayson said: “I’ve plenty of options, believe me... My phone has been red-hot from Premier League clubs and agents offering me players.

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“We’re confident we’ll get players in. But they have got to be the right ones that come in with the right sort of enthusiasm and qualities to take the club forward.

“I’m not going to go out and spend stupidly. The one thing we’ve got to consider if people might put an extra nought on the valuation of a player. We’ve got to spend it wisely. I’m not saying all £8m is available, but a portion of it will be available to spend and there’s also the January transfer window as well.

“We’re not a club who want to stand still. We want to move the club forward as Dean (Hoyle) has done since he’s been chairman.

“We’ve shown our ambitions over the last months by improving the squad on a regular basis and that won’t change.”

High on Town’s hit-list of targets is QPR striker DJ Campbell and Reading’s Simon Church, with others mentioned including long-time summer target Johnny Russell and Leicester City’s Paul Gallagher.

Campbell, 30, is well down the pecking order at Loftus Road and someone Town are firmly interested in – with his former club Blackpool, Bristol City and Watford also reportedly in the mix.

Meanwhile, it’s understood Town and Ipswich are battling it out to sign Welsh international striker Church, 23, most likely on loan.

Another rumoured option is in-demand Dundee United star Russell and while Terrors boss Peter Houston confirmed there was interest in the 23-year-old yesterday morning, the Tannadice outfit are waiting to receive any concrete offers for the £2m-rated forward.

Gallagher’s days at Leicester look numbered with Foxes boss Nigel Pearson expecting outgoing movement among his squad before the deadline.

But a successful move for another rumoured target, Sunderland’s Huddersfield-born striker Fraizer Campbell, appears unlikely.

Grayson insists Town were powerless to stand in the way of Scottish international Rhodes moving to Championship rivals Rovers once the Ewood Park outfit met a set valuation automatically giving the striker permission to speak to any rival club.

Rovers’ successful bid was significantly higher than several previous offers earlier this summer with the £8m fee believed to comprise of an initial payment of £3m up front with the remainder being guaranteed over a period of time with no clauses inserted into the deal regarding games played, goals scored or Rovers achieving promotion.

The personal terms offered by Rovers, way above what Town pay would – inevitably – also have been an added lure to Rhodes, who has penned a five-year deal.

While mindful it was the striker’s prerogative to move once the Lancastrians had tabled a suitable offer and wishing Rhodes well, Grayson feels his interests may have been better served by staying in West Yorkshire – at least until January.

Grayson said: “It’s something we’ve not wanted to happen and we’ve fended off a lot of interest over the last few weeks.

“But there was an agreement in place between the football club and Jordan that if a club got to a certain level of valuation, we would give them permission to talk.

“He made it quite clear he wanted to go over and talk to them and discuss personal terms and sometimes, you can’t stand in a player’s way.

“You never want to lose your best players. But it’s certainly a lot of money in this day and age in football for a player.

“We’ve been hanging in there for the value from day one. Clubs could have buckled a month ago and decided to take half the fee. We weren’t in a position where we had to do that and we’ve moved on and got a good transfer fee in this market.”

He added: “Jordan’s been a fantastic player for this football club. He’s scored many goals for the club and been a joy to work with.

“I’ve spoken to Jordan many times about his situation. Do I think it’s the right move for him? I’m not quite sure. But only he can make that decision.

“We couldn’t reach anywhere near what Blackburn are probably going to be paying him because they have just come out of the Premiership with the parachute payments. We were never in the market to give him the salary he’ll be earning over there.

“(But) Could he have stayed with us and developed and then maybe got his move to the Premiership is another thought.

“I sincerely think he could have stayed with us until January, got us a dozen to 15 goals and then one or two Premiership clubs might have come in for him.”

Attention will now turn as to who will step into breach and provide the goalscoring thrust in the absence of reigning League One player of the year Rhodes, who plundered an incredible 40 goals last term, with Grayson appreciating that his long-term replacement – whoever that may be – will inevitably get compared to him.