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Five show interest in Claret Rodriguez
BURNLEY are facing a battle to keep Jay Rodriguez – with at least five Premier League clubs chasing their top scorer.
Newcastle, Fulham, Norwich, Bolton and newly promoted Southampton are among those who have registered their interest in the 22-year-old.
Scottish Premier League champions Celtic have also entered the race for Rodriguez’s signature, although I understand that is an unlikely destination for the Clarets’ youth team product.
Furthermore, it is believed that Burnley will want a minimum fee of £8million for their star man.
Former Burnley striker Ade Akinbiyi, who was Rodriguez’s mentor at Turf Moor and who is now advising the England Under 21 cap, admitted he is wanted man.
“It doesn’t look like Burnley will be able to keep hold of him. A lot of clubs are interested and you can understand why,” said Akinbiyi.
“Jay is a decent player and can play at the top level.
“He has a year left to go on his contract but I’m sure they will look at all the different offers and see where it goes from then.”
The interest in Rodriguez comes as Burnley manager Eddie Howe says he is desperate to keep his squad intact for next season, but admits if departures are inevitable he would prefer outgoing transfers to be done sooner than later.
The Turf Moor chief was left with just two weeks to re-assemble his squad before the start of the 2011/12 campaign after Chris Eagles and Tyrone Mears made late pre-season moves to Bolton Wanderers.
While he was able to bring in Junior Stanislas and Kieran Trippier before the transfer window closed in August, the situation had left Burnley on the back foot, and Howe is eager to avoid a repeat as he makes plans for a new term.
Trippier has also been linked with a move to Newcastle United, while Saturday’s 1-1 draw at home to Bristol City is widely expected to be Rodriguez’s last game for the Clarets.
Howe would prefer only to add to his current crop, but admitted: “If anything is to happen – if we were to lose any players – we would want it to be done as quickly as possible so that it gives us the best chance to replace them.
“Whoever we lose, if we do lose anyone, it's going to be very difficult to replace them because you're losing top talents who have performed consistently in the Championship this year.
“To find like-for-like players for the money we have available is going to be very difficult. But that's the challenge and something we'll continue to do.”
He added: “Our better players, who are at a very good age as well and very attractive to other teams – it's going to be a fight to keep hold of them. But hopefully we can in the majority of cases, and if we do lose anybody then hopefully we can bring in adequate replacements.
Howe admitted he has already identified his summer transfer targets.
But with question marks over how much he will be able to spend, he is not yet in a position to make signings, suggesting the Clarets will have to sell before they can buy.
“We know who we want to bring in,” said Howe.
“I've said before it does depend on certain factors that we're not in control of and neither are the board so we'll have to wait and see how things develop as time goes on.
“We're not in a position at the moment to move on any of them. It will be a case of seeing how things unravel.”
Asked if they had received any firm offers for players, Howe added: “We've not had any enquiries to this day - not that I'm aware of. I'm sure these things will move on quite quickly.”