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Stephen Ireland's agent 'asked for too much money' but League One side still hope to reach a deal

Swindon Town remain keen on the 34-year-old midfielder.

Stephen Ireland hasn't played since his spell at Stoke City ended in 2018.
Stephen Ireland hasn't played since his spell at Stoke City ended in 2018.
Image: PA

STEPHEN IRELAND COULD price himself out of a move that would give him the opportunity to play competitive football for the first time in well over two years, according to Swindon Town manager Richie Wellens.

The former Irish international is in talks with the League One side over a contract ahead of the 2020-21 season. However, Wellens says his initial salary expectations could scupper a deal.

Swindon, where former Ireland striker Noel Hunt is assistant manager, are preparing for a return to the third tier of English football after being crowned League Two champions. 

“Noel Hunt has been dealing with Stephen because he knows him from his Ireland days and stuff like that,” Wellens told BBC Wiltshire.

“He’s spoken with his agent, the agent asked for too much money originally so I just told Noel to go back with a different offer and see if he can go there.”

Ireland, who recently turned 34, hasn’t played since featuring in a Premier League game for Stoke City against Swansea City in May 2018.

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He later had a brief spell with Bolton Wanderers, who were still in the Championship at the time, but left without playing a game amid a financial crisis at the club.

“It has to be in our favour, it has to work both ways,” Wellens said of a potential agreement with the former Manchester City, Aston Villa and Newcastle United midfielder.

“We’re doing him a favour in terms of getting him up and running because I don’t see a massive long queue of clubs willing to take him.

“But also he’ll be doing us a favour because he does have certain qualities that will improve us, so we’ll wait and see.”

Swindon’s League One campaign begins on 12 September at home to Brian Barry-Murphy’s Rochdale. 

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Paul Dollery

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