West Ham have agreed to pay a club record fee of £7.25 for Norwich's Dean Ashton. Ashton will cost an initial £7m but Norwich will receive an extra £125,000 if Ashton plays for the senior England team and an extra £125,000 if the Hammers qualify for Europe. The deal includes a 15% sell-on clause.
West Ham have decided that at the age of 22 Ashton represents an investment in the future but because Ashton is still unproven at the top level the deal is a gamble for the club. Many fans will probably feel that the money should have been spent on a couple of squad players. West Ham only have patchy cover for injured midfield and defensive players.