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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Paladini on Watford Bid for Shittu...No offers for Cook...Hope to sign Ward and at least one striker (Ben Kosky/Kilburn Times)

Ben Kosky/Kilburn Times - May 31, 2006
Shittu bid: Wat's the idea?

QPR chairman Gianni Paladini has dismissed a bid by Premiership new boys Watford for Danny Shittu as 'embarrassing'.Paladini has made it clear that he will not allow Rangers' star defender to leave Loftus Road this summer for less than £3m.And Watford, promoted to the top flight via the play-offs just 10 days ago, have been told that their offer for Shittu - thought to be less than half of the asking price - would not be considered."

I respect what Watford have done - they brought in the right players without paying a fortune, now they're in the Premiership," Paladini told the Times."When I watched them winning the play-offs on TV, I felt like changing channels because I was so jealous! But their offer for Danny was a ridiculous one - I felt it was embarrassing."We certainly won't sell him for that. I told them we want £3m and then another £500,000 if they stay up and we won't take less than the asking price." Danny's under contract - he knows the situation and he knows we are building a team. He's one of our most important players and we want to keep those players at the club."

Relegated pair Birmingham and West Brom have been eyeing the QPR centre-back for some time, with the Blues having a bid turned down in January.On that occasion, Sheffield United and Norwich were also rebuffed in their approaches for Shittu, who signed a three-year contract with the Rs last summer.

Paladini also confirmed that he has so far received no offers for winger Lee Cook, whose excellent form since the turn of the year has seen a £2.5m price tag placed on his head.The former Watford wide man has been offered a two-year extension to his contract, which runs out in 2007 and Paladini added: "We want him to extend his contract and I'm hoping that should be done next week."

The club are also in discussions with the Australian Football Federation to finalise the transfer of 21-year-old midfielder Nick Ward from Perth Glory." We've agreed terms with the boy, he's happy to come here and, if we can sort things out with the Australian federation, I think he will make a tremendous difference next season," said Paladini.

Rangers, who have already signed Jamaican defender Damion Stewart and Cameroon midfielder Armel Tchakounte so far this summer, are also hoping to bring in a right-back and at least one forward.They had initially expressed an interest in signing Tottenham's Dutch striker Mounir El-Hamdaoui on a season's loan, but will now turn their attention elsewhere.

Caretaker manager Gary Waddock admitted recently that he planned to bring in at least one more striker irrespective of whether Shabazz Baidoo decided to stay at Loftus Road.And, although the teenager - who had been mulling over a contract offer for the past three months - has now chosen to stay, Waddock stressed that he will face stiff competition for first team football."There's no guarantee he will be involved in the first team - he's got to earn that right and hopefully he'll put in the kind of performances that will push him into the side," stated Waddock."Everything's been agreed with Shabazz, which is good news. He wanted everything done properly, so did we and sometimes it takes time to ensure that happens.

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