BURNLEY have not made a bid for Oldham Athletic defender James Tarkowski, contrary to reports, but the Clarets have expressed an interest in the 21-year-old.
And it appears to be a two-horse race for the centre half’s signature, with League One Brentford, after a number of other interested parties, including Huddersfield Town, dropped out of the running.
The Lancashire Telegraph understands Burnley have indicated they would be willing to pay £250,000 with a 10 per cent sell-on clause for Tarkowski before next Friday’s transfer deadline.
Brentford are believed to be prepared to better that cash offer by £50,000, with further add-ons taking the combined deal to at least £400,000.
However, neither club at this stage have made a concrete offer for the Mancunian, who came through the youth ranks at Boundary Park.
Tarkowski put himself on the map this season with an outstanding performance in a televised game with Preston, scoring in a 2-1 defeat at Deepdale.
Oldham are reluctant to sell their prized asset, and after securing him on a new two-year deal in June have already offered him terms which would keep him at the club until the summer of 2016.
But Tarkowski has not put pen to paper, and it is unlikely he will, although Oldham have not set a deadline for a decision.
Liverpool were reported to be weighing up a £2million-plus-player offer but Anfield sources say that is nothing more than speculation based on Brendan Rodgers’ attendance at Oldham’s games to support his son, Anton, who is a midfielder for the Latics.
Burnley manager Sean Dyche has just seven days left to make permanent additions to his squad this season, although that will not be the cut-off point for all transfers with the loan window re-opening a week later.
The Clarets made the most of a free week by going on a warm weather training camp to Alicante, Spain, where they also watched Barcelona in La Liga action.
“It’s never a bad thing to go away and it’s so rare you get the opportunity to do that,” said Dyche.
“The dates fell well and I thought it was appropriate to get the lads together and prepare for the remaining games of the season.
“It’s well documented that we don’t have the biggest squad, but there is no certainly lack of energy or fitness in the team.
“The players have given everything and for the remainder of the season we wanted to ensure they are physically and mentally as rested as we could do.
“It wasn’t complete rest and the training facilities were very good. It was just nice to get some work done with the sun in the sky.”
Of their trip to watch Levante take on Barcelona, which ended in a 1-1 draw on Sunday night, Dyche added: “It was great for a bit of change in football culture.
“We feel we used the trip nicely with the balance between the change of surroundings, mental and physical rest, but also taking in a game and training.”