PREMIER League side Bournemouth have emerged as the frontrunners to sign Blackburn Rovers’ out-of-contract winger Connor Mahoney, the Lancashire Telegraph understands.

Mahoney is set to leave Rovers after turning down the offer of a new deal at Ewood Park and had been linked with a move to Nottingham Forest and Middlesbrough already this summer.

But the Lancashire Telegraph understands that Bournemouth have stolen a march in a bid to sign the talented 20-year-old who was set to undergo a medical on the south coast this afternoon. 

The move would come two years after Cherries boss Eddie Howe raided Rovers for Josh King, with the Norwegian finishing last season in red hot form, scoring 13 goals in his last 17 Premier League games.

And Mahoney will be hoping that Howe can have a similar impact on his career as he looks set to move on from Ewood Park this summer.

With Rovers having offered Mahoney a contract, and him being under the age of 24, the two clubs would need to agree a compensation fee, as was the case with King in 2015, or see that set by an independent tribunal.

But it is understood that should personal terms be agreed, the Cherries are confident of agreeing a fee with Rovers and avoiding the deal going to a tribunal.

Mahoney joined Rovers in December 2013 from neighbours Accrington Stanley and would make his debut for the club the following month in an FA Cup replay defeat at Manchester City.

But he looks set to leave Rovers having played just 20 times in the following three-and-a-half years, 11 of which have come since Tony Mowbray replaced Owen Coyle in February.

Rovers offered Mahoney a new contract at the start of the calendar year, but his situation quickly alerted the attentions of a number of clubs, including Barnsley.

And his impact in the final months of the season for Rovers only heightened that interest, with a host of Championship clubs having monitored Mahoney towards the end of last season.

But with Bournemouth in advanced talks with Mahoney, it appears they have stolen a march on other suitors to move in to pole position to sign the Rovers Academy graduate.

Head coach Tony Mowbray conceded earlier this month that he was expecting Mahoney to move on this summer despite holding a number of face-to-face meetings with the youngster.

Mowbray felt it would be best for Mahoney’s development were he stay at Rovers, but conceded that he would likely be sourcing his replacement this summer.