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Chelsea out to maul Black Cats

Chelsea 23 hours ago
By ESPN Staff
Jan 7, 2006

Blues fail with player-plus-cash Johnson bid

Birmingham have abandoned hopes of trying to re-sign former striker Andrew Johnson after having a player-plus-cash offer worth approximately £6.5million rejected by Crystal Palace.

Blues were prepared to pay £3million plus two unnamed players for 24-year-old Johnson who left St Andrews for Palace four years ago.

Manager Steve Bruce had been keen to sign Johnson before eventually landing Chris Sutton from Celtic on a short-term contract.

City co-owner David Sullivan said: 'We have been told that Andrew Johnson is not for sale.

'Their view is that they are going for promotion and wouldn't look at selling him until the summer at least, assuming they didn't make it.'

Palace rejected bids for Johnson from Tottenham and Everton in the summer following the Eagles' relegation from the Premiership.

Bruce was also unsuccessful in trying to sign Henrik Larsson from Barcelona before Sutton agreed to move south of the border.

Bruce is still looking for a striker with pace to compliment the skills of Sutton and Emile Heskey.

West Brom's out-of-favour frontman Robert Earnshaw also came under scrutiny but Birmingham would be unwilling to pay the £3million it is understood any club would have to fork out for the Welsh international.

In any case, Albion boss Bryan Robson has already rejected two transfer requests from Earnshaw who has made only four Premiership starts this season.