BAP SET TO LEAVE?
BAP: 'I'D LIKE TO STAY AT STAGS'
Evening Post, 22 May 2007
Out-of-contract Stags defender Alex John-Baptiste today denied he has discussed a move to Norwich City.
Reports have suggested the 21-year-old has been at Carrow Road for talks about a move to the Championship club.
But John-Baptiste insists he would delay a decision on his future until he sees who Mansfield sign for next season.
"I have not been to Norwich and I've had no contact with them," he said.
"I genuinely want to stay at Mansfield, but I need to see where the club is going first.
"I'm sure Mansfield and the fans don't want to be in League Two forever, and I don't want to be either.
"Who they sign will have an influence on my decision because I don't want to be finishing 17th again."
The highly-rated defender is out of contract this summer and can leave if he wishes.
Mansfield have offered him a new three-year deal at Field Mill. But John-Baptiste insists he will not commit himself one way or another until the end of the month.
"I just need to see where the club is going and what kind of players they bring in," he said.
'Bap': I will stay if Stags show ambition
CHAD website, 21 May 2007
By Stephen Thirkill
OUT-OF-CONTRACT Stags' star Alex John-Baptiste has challenged the club to match his ambition and keep him at Field Mill.
Fans' favourite John-Baptiste (21) has been the subject of growing transfer speculation in recent weeks, with Championship side Norwich City believed to be heading the queue for his services.
But the talented defender says he will renew his Stags' contract - if the club can match his ambition of climbing up the Football League ladder.
Yesterday he told Chad: "I want to renew my contract with Mansfield Town, but I am also ambitious and have to think about my future and the future of the club.
"I want to see what players we will sign this summer and decide where the club is going. I hope to make a decision about my future sooner rather than later.
"We need some new players and more experience and depth in the squad. We went on a good run during last season but then injuries began to hit us hard.
"I do not want to see us finish in a lowly position again next season, no-one at the club wants that. We all want to push for League One.
"I do not think we are that far short, we just need a bit more depth and experience in the squad."
And the classy centre-half has also dismissed any rumours linking him with a move away from Field Mill.
He said: "I do not know where these rumours have come from. I am not going to Norwich and have had no contact with them or any other club.
"If the club can match my ambition on the pitch then I am happy to stay at the club.
"I have definitely had no contact with any other club at this stage though."
Stags' assistant manager Paul Holland told Chad: "There has been no official enquiry for Alex.
"Billy Dearden is back from holiday on Thursday and we hope to hear from the players who have been offered new contracts then, so we can plan ahead for next season.
Earlier this month Mansfield manager Dearden offered John-Baptiste one of the best deals ever for a player to have come through the ranks at the Field Mill club.
John-Baptiste has played 163 games for Stags and was voted the Stags Supporters' Association player of the year for last season.
Star defender to leave Stags?
CHAD website, 21 May 2007
HIGHLY-RATED Stags' defender Alex John-Baptiste is set to fly the Field Mill nest.
John-Baptiste (21) is believed to be close to joining Championship side Norwich City after two visits to Carrow Road in the past 10 days.
But the Canaries face competition for the out-of-contract Stags' star's signature as new Division I outfit Hartlepool United have also offered the defender a contract.
Earlier this month Mansfield manager Bill Dearden, currently away on holiday, offered John-Baptiste one of the best deals ever to a player who has come through the ranks at Field Mill to stay at the club. He said at the time: "We are not trying to keep him on the cheap. He is being offered good money to stay here."
But it has been widely thought that the player, who started his career at the Stags as a schoolboy, would be snapped up by a club from a higher division.
And last week he travelled to see the facilities at Carrow Road, before returning today to hold talks with Canaries' manager Peter Grant.
However, Hartlepool manager Danny Wilson, who snapped up John-Baptiste's former teammate Richie Barker from Field Mill in January, is also an admirer and is believed to have tabled an offer.
Tonight Stags' assistant manager Paul Holland told Chad: "There has been no official enquiry for Alex.
"Bill (Dearden) is back on Thursday and we hope to hear from the players who have been offered new contracts then, so that we can plan ahead for next season."
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