Priced out: Wanderers widen search as Hammers eye offer

WANDERERS could be forced to abandon plans to sign Stephen Warnock because of the player’s wage demands.

The former England international returned to Aston Villa at Christmas and is understood to be training again with the club’s youth team after being told he has no future at Villa Park under Paul Lambert.

The Midlands club would favour an outright sale in January and reports this week have suggested that Sam Allardyce could be ready to add to his Bolton contingent at West Ham by making an offer to take on the full-back’s contract.

Wanderers would still like him back in the fold, and the player would also favour a move that could see him remain near his home in the North West.

But with Dougie Freedman needing to make every penny count in January, he is already exploring other options in case a deal cannot be struck.

Warnock is reported to earn around £40,000 a week at Villa, who initially wanted Wanderers to pay a large percentage of that figure to take him back on loan until the end of the season.

Discussions continue on that front but, with Lambert eager to free space in his own budget, the club and Warnock’s representatives are pushing hard for the best financial deal they can.

Another factor that could come into play for Wanderers is reported interest from Swansea City in Marcos Alonso.

The Premier League club have yet to make a bid for the Spanish defender, who is out of contract in the summer, but sources in South Wales suggest he is very much in Michael Laudrup’s sights.

The Swans are without Neil Taylor for the season and though teenager Ben Davies has impressed, the club are on the lookout for back-up in the left-back position.

Freedman believes his own movements in the transfer market may become more clear after this weekend’s round of FA Cup games.

“In reality, people will not let their players out until after the third round,” he said. “Some will put players in the shop window for loans in those games.

“So you are talking after that before you get things happening.

“Of course, you try and line things up but managers like myself can never give people answers so early.”

Freedman has announced that he will be looking in the lower divisions for potential bargains this month but also looks likely to plunder the loan market, with England Under-21 star Craig Dawson a realistic option.

Though he stopped short on naming names, the Scot admits he is short in some key positions.

“Short-term the injuries dictate what we look at in January,” he said.

“It is very unfortunate that we have a couple of centre-halves out injured at present which is disappointing.

“We are also without Mark Davies and Stuart Holden in midfield and these are key positions.

“I feel that is where we have to look to strengthen in the short term at least.”

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