BURNLEY remain hopeful of reaching an agreement with Ben Mee to keep the centre back at Turf Moor beyond the end of this season.

Mee’s present deal expires next summer and despite months of talks he is yet to put pen to paper on a new contract with the Clarets.

But there remains a real desire at Turf Moor to secure Mee’s long-term future and talks with the defender and his representatives remain ongoing, even with the clock ticking on his current deal.

If no agreement is reached Mee could leave Burnley on a free transfer next year, leaving the Clarets with a decision to make on whether to cut their losses and sell the 28-year-old this summer.

But club chiefs are hoping it won’t come to that and that an agreement can be reached.

The former Manchester City youngster captained Burnley for most of last season in the absence of the injured Tom Heaton and has been a key figure in the Clarets’ success under boss Sean Dyche.

He made 29 starts in the Premier League last term and has become a mainstay of Burnley’s defence since moving from left-back to the heart of defence midway through the Championship-winning campaign in 2015/16.

He struck up a fine understanding with Michael Keane for 18 months before the latter’s departure for Everton and has since formed another superb central defensive partnership with James Tarkowski. While Keane and Tarkowski have both earned England recognition for their fine form at Turf Moor, a Three Lions call-up has remained elusive for Mee.

He initially joined the Clarets on loan from City before making the move permanent ahead of the 2012/13 season.

He is four appearances shy of reaching the 250 mark for Burnley and following the departure of Dean Marney is the second longest-serving player at Turf Moor, behind Kevin Long.