CREWE DROP BID FOR BAPTISTE
CREWE DROP BID FOR STAGS DEFENDER
Evening Post, 13 June 2007
Crewe have pulled out of the race to sign Alex John-Baptiste after Dario Gradi balked at Mansfield's asking price.
Stags are understood to want as much as £250,000 for the out-of-contract defender, which ultimately ended Crewe's interest.
The League One side were at the head of the queue to land the 21-year-old who looks set to leave Field Mill this summer.
Gradi was a big admirer of Baptiste's versatility and experience, at such a young age.
But he has been scared off by Mansfield's asking price and does not want to risk a fee being decided by tribunal.
He revealed he has now withdrawn his interest after agreeing a deal to sign Liverpool youngster Danny O'Donnell.
Gradi said: "We won't sign both Danny and Baptiste.
"Mansfield want a substantial amount of money for their boy. His agent was keen on bringing him down here, but I've avoided that."
Mansfield are entitled to a fee for Baptiste because he is under 24.
As well as Crewe, Norwich and Hartlepool have expressed an interest in him.
CREWE boss Dario Gradi has ruled out a move for Mansfield Town's highly rated centre-half Alex Baptiste.
After finally reaching a deal with Liverpool for Danny O'Donnell plus the return of Chris McCready, the man himself is now happy with his lot at the back.
That'll disappoint those hoping to see the club move for one of the lower league's most promising players.
As per usual these days, Mansfield were keen to keep their player-of-the-year but the 21-year-old is out of contract and looking to push on.
Baptiste's agent Alex Cowdy went public, claiming Crewe's interest but Gradi says it was only a back-up plan if the O'Donnell move fell through.
It's also possible the Alex baulked at facing a tribunal with Mansfield likely to want around £250,000 for Baptiste.
advertisement"We wouldn't sign both Danny and Baptiste," explained Gradi.
"We don't have room for them both.”
Crewe boss Dario Gradi
"He's out of contract and Mansfield want a substantial amount of money.
"If we didn't agree we'd have to be prepared to go to a tribunal.
"He's played 150 games and he's only 21 so how do you value him?
"We haven't spoken to him, his agent was keen on bringing him down here but I avoided that.
"We know what we're getting with Danny and I think we're obligated to him. We don't have room for them both."
O'Donnell will sign a three-year, moving for an undisclosed fee believed to be the region of £100,000.
"It was a bit harder than we thought it would be," added Gradi.
"They wanted money and I think Rick Parry has come under pressure with people asking why the club are giving away players for nothing.
"But as usual he's been very helpful.
"We're pleased with what we have got."
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