Premier League • England

Everton, Newcastle leading five-way chase for Burnley centre-back James Tarkowski

Josh Brownhill and James Tarkowski celebrating for Burnley

Everton and Newcastle are now the reported frontrunners to sign Burnley centre-back James Tarkowski, with Aston Villa and West Ham appearing to cool their interest.

The Clarets star is expected to be one of the most sought-after domestic free agents this summer after the Turf Moor outfit ended their six-year stay in the Premier League following relegation this season.

Indeed, Tarkowski is expected to be one of a number of Burnley stars seeking an immediate top-flight return.

The fact that the defender is also available on a free transfer makes him even more of an enticing option.

Tarkowski played 194 Premier League games for Burnley, establishing himself as one of the better English defenders of his generation.

Aston Villa and West Ham were both credited with an early interest in the player.

However, Villa have since snapped up Diego Carlos from Sevilla for £26million. The Hammers, meanwhile, are closing in on Moroccan international Nayef Aguerd from French side Rennes for £30million.

Five likely down to three in Tarkowski chase

That leaves Everton, Newcastle and Fulham as the most likely sides to acquire the player, as reported in the Daily Mirror.

A move to Goodison appears to make the most sense, given that Tarkowski is already based in the north west.

But Newcastle have the financial muscle to strike a deal with the free agent, who also has tremendous leadership skills.

Fulham remain the outsiders to lure Tarkowski to London after they secured a return to the Premier League this season.

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