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Clarets striker eyed by Olympiacos
11:00am Saturday 23rd March 2013 in Sport
MARTIN Paterson is believed to be a summer transfer target for Greek Superleague leaders Olympiacos.
The Burnley striker is out of contract at the end of this season, and has not yet had new terms tabled.
Olympiacos, whose goalkeeper is Paterson’s Northern Ireland team-mate Roy Carroll, have been alerted to the 25-year-old's potential availability and could be ready to offer Paterson Champions League football next season.
A number of Championship clubs have also made tentative enquiries about the former Stoke and Scunthorpe forward, who in his first season with the Clarets helped fire the club to the League Cup semi-finals and promotion to the Premier League by top scoring with 19 league and cup goals.
Following relegation after just one season in the top flight, the blow of losing Steven Fletcher in a record sale to Wolves was softened by Paterson agreeing a contract extension to the summer of 2013.
But the striker has been plagued by injuries since helping to fire Burnley to promotion, and has subsequently struggled to replicate that form.
This season the Northern Ireland international has overcome an early hamstring problem to enjoy his best run in the squad.
He has targeted ending the campaign on double figures for goals, and remains halfway there with eight games to go after being denied a certain strike in the East Lancashire derby by goalkeeper Jake Kean's superb save.
Paterson put his international career on hold earlier this season in order to avoid any setbacks after his last injury.
And the time-out has paid off, with the striker returning to the Clarets first team line-up and earning a recall for last night’s World Cup qualifier with Russia.
Paterson, a one-time club record £1.3m signing, would be allowed to leave Turf Moor on a free transfer.
Long-serving midfielder Chris McCann is in a similar situation, with no concerted effort from the club, at this stage, to tie the youth team product to a new deal as they look to again scale down the wage bill.
On the subject of contract negotiations in general, Burnley manager Sean Dyche stressed it would be an ongoing process.
“With a club transitioning out of the heady days of the Premier League financially then there are players who were deemed good players and they are on contracts that were among those years of trying to immediately go back into the Premier League.
“That doesn’t mean we aren’t trying to do that (win promotion) but those contracts now have to come down because the cost base has to come down.
“So the negotiation process becomes obviously more difficult.
“We aren’t market leaders financially so we can’t just give them what they want and they just re-sign.
“It’s not perfect, but it is what it is. That cost base has to be considered.”
Ross Wallace was the first out-of-contract Claret to agree new, reduced terms this season.
Kevin Long has also extended his deal after recently breaking into the first team side under Dyche.