Hull City transfers: Tigers want 'fair deal' on DJ Campbell and Ahmed Elmohamady before window shuts
HULL City assistant boss Steve Agnew insists the promotion-chasing Tigers will not be held to ransom during the final week of the January transfer window.
An ambitious month of trading has already seen City strengthen their claims for a route back to the Premier League with a £3.5m double-swoop for David Meyler and Robbie Brady, as well as securing Fulham goalkeeper David Stockdale until the end of the season.
However, the eventual success of the January window may yet be gauged by City's attempts to recruit two more additions ahead next Thursday's deadline.
A move for QPR forward DJ Campbell remains some way off a conclusion after a week of talks between the clubs, while the Tigers continue to hope Sunderland are willing to send key wide-man Ahmed Elmohamady back to the KC Stadium for a second loan.
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An apparent impasse in City's pursuit of Campbell comes as Championship promotion rivals Crystal Palace remain in the hunt, but Agnew says a "fair price" must be sought for any new player over the next week.
"We're hopeful," said Agnew, discussing City's interest in Campbell.
"Negotiations have maybe been ongoing for a week or so now and the manager feels it's one who he would like if he could get it over the line.
"There's several Championship clubs interested and let's just say that we're in the race.
"January is January. Every club that's selling wants as much money as they can possibly get.
"We'd like to be in a position to do what we'd call a fair deal."
Campbell's stock is high following a prolific loan spell with Ipswich Town before Christmas and QPR boss Harry Redknapp is aiming to cash in on the 31-year-old.
Privately, City had initially been hopeful of completing a deal this week but Agnew hinted towards a protracted chase.
"These deals are so complicated these days that it's difficult to say whether it would be permanent or a loan.
"It's always difficult in January. No matter how quickly you want to get deals done, ultimately there's a countdown on Sky that tells you everything.
"I would probably think it will go down to the last day.
"It's been quiet this week but I'm sure that's down to people having one eye on the FA Cup. I'm sure it will heat up next week."
The same patience will also be required in the Tigers' attempts to lure Elmohamady back to the KC Stadium.
The Egyptian's fine loan spell was cut short last week and he returned to parent club Sunderland to play a cameo role in their 3-2 win at Wigan on Saturday.
Black Cats boss Martin O'Neill remains in the market for further January additions and Agnew believes City are willing to wait.
"Sunderland brought him back because they were down on numbers," he explained.
"Elmo was unfortunate because he was loving his time here and playing really well.
"That was a blow but we need to be a little bit patient. We'll probably have to wait for Sunderland to make moves before it has an affect on whether Elmo comes back quickly."
Manager Steve Bruce would almost certainly be content with his lot should the services of Campbell and Elmohamady be secured before next Thursday as he keeps faith with a squad that's exceeded all expectations with a climb to third in the Championship.
Attentions are switched to the FA Cup tomorrow when Barnsley stand between the Tigers and a place in the last 16 before a trip to Millwall next weekend will come after the disruption of the transfer window has been ended for another season.
Agnew admits January has the potential to test a manager's resolve but says City's calm approach has ensured minimal disruption.
"They can be a nuisance to the manager," he said. "It's important to have a system in place for January where if you do sign a player it needs to be thoroughly thought through.
"Too often it can be rushed and panicky. Personally I don't think a January window makes sense but I know a lot of people would share that view.
"As staff we all have it. The phone never stops and the emails are firing through every minute of the day.
"It's difficult because the agents are pushing players and players want to move on when they're not in the team.
"There's a lot of unrest but when you're an experienced manager who's dealt with it for a number of years, like Steve, it's much easier."
Next Thursday's 11pm deadline is guaranteed to bring frenetic late business across English football, but any notion of panic in the Championship is diluted by the availability of emergency loans from February 8.
Stays are limited to 93 days, a restriction that would have an impact on any side reaching the play-offs, and Agnew will not rule out the option.
"Once the window re-opens we can assess that situation and have a look at one or two that maybe haven't got their moves," he said.
"It gives that extra little bit of time to weigh up who you need and where you need to strengthen.
"The end of January gives us the chance to have a squad in place that will hopefully carry us through to the end of the season."