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Wolverhampton Wanderers have set their sights on Burnley contract-rebel James Tarkowski but face a battle with Premier League rivals West Ham United for his signature, as reported by the Telegraph. 

While the Clarets have not yet accepted defeat in their attempts to retain one of the division’s most reliable centre-halves, it would be foolish not to prepare for the worst-case scenario. 

Especially after Tarkowski made it clear that he is not for budging, refusing point-blank to extend a contract which expires in the summer of 2022. 

And it seems that preparing for a worst-case scenario is exactly what Burnley are doing.

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Those links with Harry Souttar and Nat Phillips should make that clear, while Sean Dyche’s side have also launched a £12 million bid for Stoke City youngster Nathan Collins. 

Will James Tarkowski join Wolves or West Ham?

After five years in the rolling hills of Lancashire, Tarkowski obviously feels that a fresh start is required – a stance exacerbated by his ongoing absence from Gareth Southgate’s England plans. 

West Ham had three bids rejected for the former Brentford man last year, according to Sky Sports.

Not to be deterred, the Hammers will return to the table, obviously in the hope that Burnley may now be forced to accept a reduced bid for a £40 million-rated centre-half who will be a free agent in 12 months. 

Photo by Rob Newell – CameraSport via Getty Images

You would think that West Ham have an advantage over Wolves, having secured European qualification in May. 

That has not stopped the men from Molineux expressing an interest in Tarkowski too, however, with new manager Bruno Lage determined to reinforce a backline that conceded 52 goals in 2020/21 (12 more than the season prior). 

Wolves have already beaten Manchester City to the signing of 20-year-old Yerson Mosquera.

But the Black Country giants also want a more experienced player capable of slotting straight into Lage’s defence. 

Leicester City cannot be discounted at this stage either, with Burnley expecting a bid from Brendan Rodgers’ side.

Photo by Nick Potts – Pool/Getty Images

In other news, Report: Newcastle ready to spend big on hiring PL-winning manager, as well as £59m player