Josh Bowler is ‘happy’ and ‘settled’ at Blackpool amid reports linking the Championship star with a move to Nottingham Forest and Fulham, manager Neil Critchley tells Lancs Live.
Five years ago, Everton invested over £4 million in a teenager with just one first-team league appearance under his belt. But it is only now that Bowler is really starting to live up to those early expectations.
The former QPR starlet has been performing like a man possessed since joining Blackpool on a free transfer last summer.
So much so that, according to TEAMtalk, second-tier rivals Fulham, Nottingham Forest, Blackburn Rovers and Stoke City are showing an interest.
If Blackpool could turn back the clock to last June, we’d imagine that they would hand Bowler a far longer contract than the one he signed at Bloomfield Road.
As it stands, the 22-year-old wideman will become a free-agent again this summer.
It must be said, however, that the Tangerines do have an option to extend his current deal by a further 12 months.
Could Josh Bowler leave Blackpool already?
“I think certain players you always look at and would like to secure them for longer,” said Critchley, the former Liverpool U23 boss.
“But you also have to understand that also the player and their representatives have to look after their own interests sometimes as well.”
Critchley is confident that Bowler, who has dazzled with his direct running and dextrous dribbling, will be a Blackpool player until the end of the current campaign.
“Josh is here, he’s our player,” the manager adds. I’m expecting a big second half of the season from him because I think he’ll only get better.
“He’s showing improvement in his game all the time which we’re trying to help him with. I know he’s enjoying being here and we want that to continue.
“From the conversations I’ve had with Josh, he’s really settled and happy here.”
In addition to Bowler, Nottingham Forest are chasing another Championship winger.
Millwall have rejected two bids for Jed Wallace, according to The Telegraph. Manager Gary Rowett has refused to rule out an eventual January departure for his talismanic number seven however.