West Ham’s pursuit of Burnley defender James Tarkowski continues to dominate the headlines – well, maybe not – with contrasting information emerging over whether or not the club have had a third bid rejected.
Tarkowski joined the Clarets from Brentford in 2016, and has since become a regular at Turf Moor – making 143 appearances and earning himself two England caps.
The 27-year-old has been on West Ham’s radar for a few weeks, and the club have previously made offers around £23m and £30m – both of which have been turned down by the Clarets.
Burnley are thought to be holding out for a much larger sum of £50m, and contrasting information has now emerged regarding a possible third offer. Sky Sports reporter Kaveh Solhekol claims West Ham have indeed lodged a third bid, worth only a smidge more at £31m, but that has again been rebuffed.
But local journalist Alex James, who covers Burnley up and down the country for Lancashire Live, refutes those claims, reporting that a third bid has not been put in ahead of the Carabao Cup tie with Sheffield United.
Central defence has been a concern for the east Londoners for a while, having conceded the most goals outside of the bottom four in last season’s Premier League campaign. The 2-0 opening day home defeat to Newcastle United will have done little to ease those fears.
Another worry for manager David Moyes is the lack of depth at the heart of defence. The Scotsman only has three senior central defenders in his squad – Angelo Ogbonna, Issa Diop and Fabian Balbuena – and with this campaign’s schedule particularly hectic, new recruits are vital if the club want to avoid being dragged into another relegation battle.
Should West Ham continue their pursuit of Tarkowski, they will likely face little competition for the Englishman. Fellow Premier League clubs Leicester City and Crystal Palace were both thought to be interested in the former Oldham man, but have been put off by Burnley’s asking price.
The chances of Sean Dyche allowing the defender to leave Turf Moor this summer are slim. Much like West Ham, Burnley are lacking in numbers at the back, especially after Ben Gibson’s loan move to Norwich City. The sale of one of their star men to a top flight rival would be a bizarre move.