Ashton in fresh Hammers link

Despite continual denials throughout the summer, culminating in a new contract extension at Carrow Road, mischievous hacks have again begun to link highly rated England under-21 hitman Dean Ashton with a move to the Premiership.

The Sunday Mirror claims that Alan Pardew is still keen on bringing the £3million former Crewe man to Upton Park to bolster the Premiership club's forward line. The figure of £7million was again plucked from the air to support the story, which claims Ashton only refrained from leaving Norwich in the summer because he didn't want to join a club which might be relegated.

The rumours are sure to upset the hierarchy at Norwich after a difficult start to the season has begun to turn around, the yellows climbing into the top half of the table with successive wins over Hull City and Brighton prior to the international break.

While it is undeniable that West Ham would love to have a player like Ashton in their side, the idea that he even went as far as turning down offers is well wide of the mark. Given that Manchester City were also confirmed as bidders, Ashton would have had the chance to join a club expected to trouble the top half of the table, and the fact that the Hammers have begun the campaign far better than was expected will make little or no difference.

Of more concern to Canaries fans would be the possibility that the team are not in touch with runaway leaders Sheffield United and Reading at Christmas, meaning their star player may seek to guarantee his return to the top flight. Fortunately, the 21-year-old has shown tremendous maturity so far and is grateful to Nigel Worthington for taking a chance on him.

Given other news to appear over the weekend, it would also appear that the club are in a good position to reject big money offers for their players, and also potentially hang on to the likes of Calum Davenport, who has been so impressive since joining on loan from Tottenham.