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Burnley boss begins striker search after £7m Jay bid is accepted
10:02am Wednesday 30th May 2012 in News
EDDIE Howe has already begun the hunt for a replacement for Jay Rodriguez, after the Clarets agreed a club record breaking £7million fee with Southampton, but he is not plotting a return for Richard Chaplow.
The Accrington-born midfielder was reported to be heading for a second spell at Turf Moor, where he began his career.
But I understand the 27-year-old is not on the list of targets manager Howe has made to strengthen his squad this summer, while the 27-year-old used his Twitter account to refute the rumours.
“I am still a Saints player and it’s somewhere I want to stay for a long time!” he said.
Howe could, however, be in the hunt for Bristol City striker Brett Pitman in the event of Rodriguez being sold.
Although a fee with Southampton has been agreed the negotiation process remains ongoing, with Rodriguez not due to meet with the south coast club officials until next week to discuss personal terms.
The 22-year-old is currently out of the country so a decision either way is not imminent, and with a host of Premier League clubs showing an interesting in the Clarets’ youth team product, who has a year remaining on his contract, he can afford to keep his options open.
But after being stung by the double departure of Chris Eagles and Tyrone Mears just two weeks before the start of last season, Howe has ensured he is prepared for every eventuality.
At 24, Pitman is still young enough to fit into Howe’s blueprint, but experienced enough to settle straight into the team.
The Jersey-born forward, who is out of contract next summer, has scored 20 goals in two seasons at Ashton Gate – including two in four meetings with Burnley, but did not get as much game time as he would have preferred last term as the Robins operated largely with one up front, which is not best suited to his style.
Pitman worked with Howe at Bournemouth, firing 28 goals in his final season with the Cherries, which prompted his £800,000 move to Bristol City.
He had the choice to join Blackpool in their Premier League campaign, but talks broke down after a fee was agreed with Bournemouth, bringing his ambition into question.
But Pitman, who scored 30 goals in 52 games under Howe, is a player the Burnley boss likes.
It is expected Bristol City would be looking for offers in the region of £400,000-£500,000 for a player who is out of contract next summer.
Meanwhile, Southampton's determined efforts to sign Rodriguez have proved a baptism of fire for Burnley's joint chairmen.
John Banaszkiewicz and Mike Garlick were elected to replace Barry Kilby on Friday, after his 13-and-a-half year reign came to an end.
Kilby announced his decision to step down on health grounds earlier this year, after being diagnosed with cancer.
Banaszkiewicz and Garlick, both Burnley fans, have taken on a joint role after being voted in during a four-and-a-half hour board meeting on Friday, in which budgets for next season were also up for discussion.
The club announced a £4million loss in the last financial year, and are set to face another shortfall in their next annual report with parachute payments from their Premier League season being halved to £8million for each of the next two years.
The Clarets also have to be mindful of the UEFA Financial Fairplay regulations which come into force this season, encouraging clubs to at least break even and imposing sanctions on those that do not.
On that basis, it is likely that plugging that void would be the priority for any monies received for Rodriguez, with perhaps a portion set aside for summer transfer dealings.
Burnley had set an £8m pricetag for Rodriguez.
Striker Steven Fletcher currently holds the club's outgoing transfer record at £6.5m, following his move to Wolves in the summer of 2010.