Macedonian defender Nikolce Noveski was the reason for Ipswich Town chief scout Steve McCall watched the friendly match between Macedonia and Poland last month.
The 29-year-old is a friend of Velice Sumulikoski, and the Blues have been keeping tabs on the 6ft 3in tall defender in recent months on the recommendation of the midfielder. Noveski was voted this season’s top defender in the second tier of German football by Kicker magazine as his side finished fourth and narrowly missed out on promotion.
Capped 23 times by his country, scoring three goals, Noveski started his career with hometown club FK Pelister Bitola, before moving on to German side Hansa Rostock in 1998. A year later he joined another German side FC Erzgebirge Aue, making the switch to Mainz in 2004. Noveski’s time at Mainz has seen highs and lows with a UEFA Cup run in 2005/06, having qualified through the Fair Play League, followed by relegation in 2006/07 after three years in the German top flight. The Macedonian has two years left on his contract, but is believed to have a clause in his deal which would allow him to leave should a club make an offer of €1 million (around £800,000). A year ago Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg were linked, while Eintracht Frankfurt have been mentioned in connection with Noveski this summer.