Le Pen Move Closer?
Friday, 13th Jun 2003 00:17
Town winger Ulrich Le Pen's permanent switch to loan side Strasbourg looks to have moved a step closer after they were told their finances were in a good enough state for them to remain in the French top division.
On June 3rd the club's new owners, led by former West Ham player Marc Keller, presented their accounts and business plan for next season to la Direction Nationale de Contrôle et de Gestion (DNCG), the body which regulates the finance of French football clubs. On Thursday they learnt that the DNCG were satisfied with the state of the club and were not going to relegate them.
This increases the chances of Le Pen staying with the Alsace side where he spent 2002/03 on loan. Earlier this week he said he was being won over by their new manager: "I met with Antoine Kombouaré last Monday. I was impressed by what he had to say, but for the moment I've not made any decision. We'll pick discussions up again in a week's time."
If Le Pen, who has also been offered a contract by Guingamp, decides to remain at Le Stade de la Meinau he will have to take a pay cut. Strasbourg are not offering contracts above €30,000 (£20,000) per month for any individual player. It seems likely that Le Pen was earning around twice this figure at Portman Road.
Reports in France say Town are after €1 million (£700,000) for the 29-year-old who moved to Suffolk in November 2001 for reputed £1.4 million from Lorient. Le Pen's spell with the Blues was largely spent on the treatment table, however he did manage three appearances as a substitute.
Photo: Action Images
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