Cardiff City will offer Kenwyne Jones a new contract next month, but want the star striker to take a pay cut, WalesOnline has learned.
The 31-year-old frontman’s current deal runs out in the Welsh capital next summer and he will be free to talk to new clubs when the transfer window opens in January.
Manager Russell Slade wants to hold onto the player, but the club’s hierarchy have decided the new offer on the table for Jones will insist he accepts a lower salary.
The news comes as it emerged the Bluebirds are keen to to offer on loan striker Tony Watt a permanent deal and are also on the lookout for another frontman.
Jones, who joined Cardiff from Stoke in January 2014 in a swap deal that saw Peter Odemwingie move in the opposite direction, is easily the highest paid player at the club with a basic pay-packet of £35,000 a week.
As Slade’s Bluebirds look to secure a play-off spot in the Championship, the club still believes Jones’ goals could prove vital and are said to be very keen to see him sign the new contract and remain in the Welsh capital.
But, as owner Vincent Tan looks to cut finances, it is felt Jones’ salary is now out of step with the current pay structure and must drop.
Slade has already been forced to slash the wage bill since he took over and Jones’ new contract offer is seen as the next step in that process.
An insider within the club told WalesOnline that Jones was still very in the Bluebirds’ future plans, but that "the ball is now in his court" when it came to accepting the new deal. It remains unclear how long the new contract will run should Jones agree to it.
The club originally opened negotiations with Jones and his representatives back in September, but those talks stalled.
Jones was linked in the summer with a move to Cardiff’s Championship rivals Sheffield Wednesday, a club where the striker had a loan spell a decade ago.
The frontman has made 63 appearances for the Bluebirds and fired 17 goals.
He was last season’s top-scorer, but at times has found it hard to earn a place in Slade’s starting XI and has seen this campaign hit by a shin injury picked up whilst on international duty with Trinidad and Tobago. He has three goals in 15 league outings so far this season.
Jones was sent out on loan at the back end of last term as he helped Bournemouth earn promotion to the Premier League. He is set to lead the Bluebirds’ line again tonight, as Slade’s side welcome Brentford to the Welsh capital for their latest Championship encounter.