James Tarkowski transfer latest: Leeds linked with unlikely move as Frank Lampard’s Everton hold crucial edge

James Tarkowski, Burnley, in action during Premier League game at Turf Moor

Leeds United are reportedly considering an approach for James Tarkowski as the Burnley defender prepares to leave Turf Moor as a free agent this summer.

The Whites narrowly avoided a return to the Championship, recording a 2-1 win at Brentford on the final day to save their skin. And in avoiding the drop, it was the Clarets who fell through the relegation trapdoor after they lost their last game of the season to Newcastle.

Now, Leeds United could be about to add salt into Burnley’s wounds by moving to sign their captain Tarkowski. The 29-year-old former England defender is a man in demand this summer having reached the end of his Clarets contract.

Available as a free agent, Tarkowski finds himself the subject of interest from several Premier League sides. Indeed, the likes of Newcastle, West Ham, Everton, Fulham and Aston Villa are all reportedly keen on the centre-half.

However, the Daily Mail claims Jesse Marsch’s Leeds are also now in the running to sign Tarkowski. The write that Leeds are keeping tabs on his situation and could yet make a late play to sign the defender.

United leaked a troubling 79 goals in the Premier League this season, as they clung on to their Premier League status by a narrow margin. As such, the capture of Tarkowski would make plenty of sense given the need to tighten up.

Clarets powerless to keep leading stars

Tarkowski, alongside his centre-half partner Ben Mee, were a huge part of Burnley’s six-year run in the Premier League.

However, Burnley look powerless to prevent both players moving on following their demotion.

Marsch and Co have already strengthened their squad this summer by capturing USA midfielder Brenden Aaronson. And they are also nearing a deal for right-back Rasmus Kristensen, with a move all-but agreed for the Dane.

Leeds, clearly stung from their close relegation shave, are also keen to bolster their attacking options too. In that regard, they are also seemingly in the mix to sign New York City FC striker Valentin Castellanos.

Leeds swoop for James Tarkowski looks unlikely

For all that has been written about Leeds’ apparent interest, it seems unlikely Tarkowski will be moving to Elland Road.

Indeed, we understand the race for his signature looks likely to be won by Everton. Their boss, Frank Lampard, is a big fan of the defender.

The Toffees look to be in the driving seat to secure his signature, having already held talks over a move.

They are reported to have offered the 29-year-old a three-year deal worth £5m a year. That £93,000 a week salary would be far higher than Leeds would likely go to given their current salary structure.

Indeed, such a signing would make Tarkowski – as it stands – the highest earner at Elland Road.

And while his uncompromising style would be welcome at Leeds, his move – and wages – are not a deal that makes sense for Leeds. Instead, he will likely move to Goodison Park and collect his big pay-day under Lampard at Everton.

Raphinha, meanwhile, continues to be linked with a move to Barcelona, though doubts are now emerging if they will be able to finance his move at all with Leeds standing firm on his valuation.