The race to sign James Tarkowski from Burnley has expanded after Wolves reportedly began showing an interest in the centre-back.
Tarkowski has been a reliable servant for Burnley ever since joining them from Brentford in 2016. Two years later, he became a full England international. Although he remains stuck on two caps for his country, he has continued to be a cornerstone of Sean Dyche’s side at club level.
Last season, Tarkowski played in 36 Premier League matches, after featuring in all 38 the previous year. His partnership with Ben Mee at the back is one of the most reliable in the division, despite Burnley being a bottom-half club.
But that partnership could soon break up. Tarkowski is entering the final year of his contract and is keen to test himself at a more ambitious level.
He was linked with Leicester and West Ham last summer, and the latter continue to be mentioned as potential suitors. In fact, one pundit recently shared his belief that such a move was as good as a done deal.
However, there is still nothing official, and with that in mind, other clubs could swoop in. According to The Telegraph, Wolves have now joined the queue for the 28-year-old.
It will be a summer of change at Molineux. Head coach Nuno Espirito Santo has already departed and some key players are also tipped to leave. For example, Rui Patricio, Ruben Neves and Adama Traore, all first-team regulars, have been linked with exits.
In addition, there have been rumours that Rafael Benitez would look to take Conor Coady to Everton if he was appointed there.
Tarkowski the ideal Wolves target?
In that case, Wolves would need to sign a replacement at centre-back. Besides, they may need more depth there anyway, even if their captain stays. They recently signed promising Colombian Yerson Mosquera as the first recruit of the Bruno Lage era, but could now turn to more experienced targets.
As such, Tarkowski is someone they could consider a move for. He has been a Premier League player for five seasons, so would likely have no problems adapting to Wolves.
At present, they are merely contemplating an offer, rather than making a formal bid.
While they make up their mind, West Ham may be encouraged to speed up their own pursuit after realising there is serious competition for their target.
But Burnley are determined to keep Tarkowski either way, even though he has indicated he will not sign a new contract. The Clarets must now balance the pros and cons of keeping him for one more season before losing him for free, or selling him now and receiving a sum.