Burnley must raise their bid for Dael Fry by a further £20 million with Middlesbrough manager Jonathan Woodgate hanging an eye-watering price-tag around the neck of the coveted centre-back, as reported by the Northern Echo.
With Boro hoping to balance the books and the parachute payments coming to an end, Sean Dyche might have hoped that he could tempt the Championship outfit into selling their academy graduate on the cheap.
The Sun reported this week that Burnley were set to offer £10 million for the England U21 international.
But keeping hold of Fry is proving to be priceless for Middlesbrough, with Woodgate publicly demanding a fee that would require the Clarets to obliterate their transfer record.
“Dael is not for sale. He’s not for sale unless someone pays £30m,” Woodgate, himself a top-class centre-half in his playing days, has told the Echo.
Burnley’s current record signing also made his name at the heart of Middlesbrough’s defence.
But Ben Gibson’s miserable 18 months in Lancashire, culminating in just 63 minutes of Premier League football, might convince Fry that he would be better off staying and honing his talents under Woodgate in the north east.
Having said that, Ben Mee and James Tarkowski haven’t looked as reliable as usual this season and were bailed out time and again by an outstanding Nick Pope display in Sunday’s smash-and-grab triumph over Leicester City.
Maybe Burnley will be tempted to splash out on a centre-half with the world at his feet.
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