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Five join Burnley in race for Pugh
BURNLEY will face major competition for Marc Pugh with five clubs already registering their interest – but the Bournemouth midfielder is prepared to wait until the latter stages of the transfer window to decide his future.
Clarets boss Eddie Howe is keen to strengthen his midfield – something that could become an even bigger priority if Norwich decide to make their move for Chris McCann.
Howe is looking at Doncaster’s Brian Stock but has also revived his interest in Pugh after the 25-year-old turned down a new contract at his current club.
The Clarets could have several rivals for Pugh’s signature, however, if they do opt to make a bid this summer – with the player’s availability alerting a number of clubs.
Derby County were already thought to be monitoring Pugh and Huddersfield Town, Charlton Athletic and Watford are also now interested following the news that he wants to leave Bournemouth.
The Bacup-born Pugh, an attacking midfielder who can play on either flank and who started his career at Turf Moor, is now in the final year of his contract with the League One club and has his heart set on the Championship.
But sources close to the player have indicated that they do not necessarily expect a swift resolution to the situation.
Pugh has no intention of changing his mind on his Bournemouth future by signing a new deal at Dean Court but is prepared to consider his options carefully for what could be the most important move of his career.
And Bournemouth have stressed that they have so far received no bids from any club for the player, who scored 12 goals last season.
The Cherries have said they may yet make Pugh stay for the final year of his contract, with chairman Eddie Mitchell recently suggesting that his valuation for the player was as high as £1m.
But that notional asking price is expected to drop as the transfer window draws to a close at the end of August, with Pugh able to leave for nothing next summer.
A fee of £400,000 or £500,000 is considered more realistic by south coast sources.
In Burnley’s case much could also depend on what budget they have available, with Howe eager to bring in a striker and also considering a move for Stock following the £1.1m signing of centre back Jason Shackell.
Howe signed Pugh for Bournemouth in the summer of 2010 and was impressed with the former Bury man’s performances before his own switch to Turf Moor six months later. Pugh started his career with Burnley but was released in 2006 at the age of 19.
The Clarets are also looking to add a striker to their squad, with former loan man Sam Vokes known to be a target and Norwich forward Chris Martin, 23, also linked.
Burnley youngster Cameron Howieson is due to make his debut for the New Zealand Olympic team today when they face Japan in a friendly in Tokyo.
The 17-year-old will then travel with the squad for another friendly in South Korea on Saturday, with their first fixture at the London Olympics against Belarus in Coventry on July 26.