Emerton to put pen-to-paper
By Chris Stanton. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Brett Emerton is poised to follow Ryan Nelsen's suit in the coming days and commit his future to Blackburn Rovers.
Rovers manager Mark Hughes revealed the Australian, who has been the subject of interest from Middlesbrough, is close to dotting the i's and crossing the t's on a new contract.
Emerton entered the final year of his Ewood Park deal this summer, and his deliberation on agreeing new terms tempted Boro to make an opening gambit - believed to be in the region of £800,000.
Hughes has been insistent that he would rather retain the player, but only on the proviso he agrees a new deal before the transfer window shuts on August 31.
And Rovers now look set to be able to call on the 27-year-old for the foreseeable future, after Hughes revealed that talks were nearing a conclusion.
"Brett should commit in the next day or so," said Hughes.
"We've been talking to him for a number of weeks, and certainly in the last couple of days to try to come to a resolution.
"Apart from a few i's to be dotted and t's crossed, we're near to saying Brett will be with us for another two or three seasons.
"He's a player who gives me a lot of options. He is very versatile in that he can play wide, at full back and he can make breaks from the centre of the park.
"He has the ability to carry the ball from one end of the field to the other, and that's why other teams have coveted him this summer."
Emerton's team-mate Nelsen agreed a four-year contract extension on Wednesday to quash speculation linking him with a move to Portsmouth and Hughes could not hide his satisfaction.
"It was important we put that one to bed, and I'm delighted we have been able to tie up Ryan for another four years," added Hughes, who signed Nelsen on a free transfer from DC United 18 months ago.
"He is an important part of what we are trying to do here and that is why we wanted him tied down for a longer period.
"It did drag on somewhat, and there was the irritation of Portsmouth in the background, but we were able to see them off.
"We made it clear from the outset we weren't going to let him go, and we gave him a new contract because we felt he deserved it.
"Given his circumstances, and the fact he came from America, he was probably on a lesser wage than his talents deserved.
"We've shown how we feel about him with the level of contract he now has, and I'm looking forward to working with him for the next three, four years.
"But it shows how far we have come because this time last year nobody wanted my players, now it seems everybody wants them."
For his part, the New Zealander insists he never had any inclination to move to Fratton Park.
"Blackburn gave me the opportunity to play in The Premiership in the first place, and it's a privilege to be here another four years," said Nelsen.
"I never once thought it was time for a change. For me it's about ambition and success, and with the manager committing and the new signings, all the news coming out of Blackburn has been positive.
"As a player that's what you want to see, so when I was offered the new deal I never thought twice about it.
"Portsmouth were never an option. I've been more worried about my hamstring injury."
The injury seems set to prevent Nelsen from figuring in Rovers' opening day Premiership clash at Pompey, however, with the 28-year-old having missed the majority of the club's pre-season campaign with the niggling complaint.