BURNLEY co-chairman Mike Garlick has stressed that Charlie Austin is not for sale, but has warned the club is unlikely to be active in the January transfer market.
The Clarets are braced for a battle to keep hold of their 22-goal top scorer when the window opens in the new year.
Austin has attracted attention from a number of top flight clubs, with up to four believed to be watching the 23-year-old on a regular basis.
But Burnley are determined to hang on to their prized asset until at least the end of the season, and see that as a priority rather than adding to their squad.
“We have no plans to sell Charlie at the minute,” said Garlick, speaking at lastnight’s annual general meeting, in which director Clive Holt was re-elected to the board.
“We see him as an integral part of our squad.
“Last season he had time out with injury, in the first season we bought him he was injured – we want him to play for us this season.”
Chief executive Lee Hoos added: “We were in the same situation last year with Jay (Rodriguez). We said ‘no’.
“We have no plans to sell Charlie, we will not encourage offers on Charlie. We want to let him enjoy his football and continue to score the goals and see where that takes us to the end of the season.”
Of the likelihood of instead delving into the transfer market in the new year, Garlick said: “January is not a major priority.
“I hate buying in January. It’s not always the best time to buy because you don’t have a lot of time.
“We have got quite a few players out of contract (this summer). Sean (Dyche) has been here eight weeks now and is fine tuning what we’ve got.
“There might be something in January on extra loans, but not major activity.
“That’s more likely to take place in the summer.”
In his first Clarets AGM new manager Dyche reiterated that contracts for the seven senior players whose deals expire at the end of this season are being considered for renewal.
But with the club continuing to find ways to drive down costs after Premier League parachute payments were halved, the Burnley boss hinted the club would not be in a position to offer them improved financial terms.
“The main thing for me is to get a look at the group daily and weekly,” he said.
“A number of contracts are up and we have started softly negotiating, but because they are at the bigger end of this club’s wage structure.
“They are quite realistic with where they are.
“It’s in its early stages but the wheels are in motion to start looking at contracts on a serious level.”