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Lawrence in Talks
By: Rob Sedgwick
Grimsby Boss Lennie Lawrence has opened talks over a permanent move to Blundell Park for two of the Mariners on-loan players. Norwegian left-sided defender Knut Anders Fostervold, who was due to return to his club FC Molde this week, and Dutch defender Menno Willems are both in talks with the club.
In the case of Willems, the transfer fee of £160K was agreed with his Dutch club Vitesse Arnhem prior to the big defender's loan spell at Blundell Park, and it is a matter of the 23-year-old agreeing personal terms with the Mariners.
Although the loan deal with Willems does not expire for several weeks, Lawrence is keen to sign the Dutchman before that. "We'd like to sign him and, although his loan goes until the end of February, I want to do it as soon as possible," said the Town manager today.
In contrast, Fostervold's club FC Molde and Grimsby have not yet agreed a transfer fee, with the Norwegians believed to be seeking in excess of £400K, a figure probably beyond the Mariners means (particularly with any Nielsen transfer still unresolved).
"We have been in touch with Molde, and have started negotiations," said Lawrence. "Knut Anders has made a good impression here and we would like him to become a Grimsby player.
Molde claim that Grimsby agreed a fee with them before Fostervold's loan spell in Cleethorpes, in what appears to be the sticking point in the negotiations. "Grimsby are interested in buying the player for a much lower amount than the price agreed in a deal between the clubs," said Fostervold's agent Stig Lillejord, speaking in the Norwegian press.
Meanwhile Lawrence has to decide which of his squad he will be looking to keep at Blundell Park next season with Kevin Donovan, skipper Paul Groves, John McDermott, Stacey Coldicott, Tony Gallimore, Peter Handyside, Steve Livingstone, Richard Smith and Kingsley Black all believed to have contracts which expire in the summer.
The Mariners will be particularly keen to complete a deal with youngsters Danny Butterfield and Matthew Bloomer, who are also out of contract from the summer of next year.
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