BURNLEY are keen on signing Aston Villa midfielder Ashley Westwood, but the 26-year-old’s wages could prove a stumbling block.

The Clarets are after midfield reinforcements following Joey Barton’s decision to reject a new contract and sign a two-year deal with Scottish giants Rangers instead.


While Sean Dyche is eager to bring former Crewe man Westwood to Turf Moor, he may have to make him one of the highest paid players at the club to do so.

Westwood signed a lucrative five-year deal at Villa Park a year ago and is understood to be earning around £40,000 a week, a figure that could prove prohibitive to the Clarets.

A return to the Premier League after Villa’s relegation may appeal to Westwood, who made 121 top flight appearances for the club, but he is likely to have to take a pay cut to seal a move to Burnley.

Villa are keen to offload some of their under performing stars, but Westwood does not fall into that category. He is well thought of by coaching staff at Villa Park and is considered a consummate professional, something that would also appeal to Dyche and Burnley.

He joined Villa for £2million on the final day of the summer transfer window in 2012 having come through Crewe’s highly-rated academy.

Burnley have just David Jones, Dean Marney and Fredrik Ulvestad as central midfield options following the departure of Barton, although Scott Arfield can play infield.

Both Jones and Marney are over 30, while Ulvestad has played just nine games for the club since his arrival in February 2015.

Meanwhile the Clarets could face a battle to hold on to both of their first choice centre-backs this summer.

It is understood Leicester City have not made a second bid for Michael Keane but one could still be forthcoming.

And West Bromwich Albion have expressed an interest in signing Keane’s centre back partner Ben Mee.

The former Manchester City man was voted the players’ player of the year at Turf Moor after his form last season, with his move from left-back to the heart of the defence coinciding with Burnley’s 23 game unbeaten run on the way to the Championship title.

His versatility in being able to play centrally and at left-back appeals to Albion boss Tony Pulis.

While Mee is not thought to be top of the Baggies’ shopping list, the 26-year-old has just 12 months remaining on his Clarets contract, something which could give them hope of securing a deal, although Burnley are likely to be keen to tie him down to a new deal at Turf Moor when he returns from a holiday ahead of pre-season training a week on Monday.