LUKAS Jutkiewicz is expected to complete a move away from Middlesbrough in the next 48 hours – with newly-promoted Burnley leading the race for his signature.
Burnley have agreed to pay around £1.5m for the striker, and have been given permission to speak to Jutkiewicz and his representatives to come to an agreement over personal terms.
However, with Bolton Wanderers, Derby County and Wolves all still in discussions with Boro officials, the 25-year-old could yet find himself with a choice of future employers as he prepares to leave Teesside.
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Burnley firmed up their interest late on Wednesday evening, with their failure to prise Troy Deeney from Watford playing a key role in their decision to match Boro’s asking price.
Sean Dyche, also interested in one of Boro’s attacking targets, Danny Graham, has identified Jutkiewicz as a useful recruit as he looks to add some depth to the squad that won promotion from the Championship last season.
The former Coventry striker scored seven goals in 20 games while on loan at Bolton last season, but was made available for transfer when Boro boss Aitor Karanka decided he did not form part of his future plans.
Burnley’s willingness to pay £1.5m means the Teessiders will bank a small profit, having paid £1.3m to sign Jutkiewicz in January 2012, but the Clarets are not yet guaranteed to complete the deal.
Bolton are trying to raise enough funds to push through a deal of their own, although the way they want their payments structured is understood to be counting against them in negotiations.
Wolves’ interest is also at an advanced stage, with the Molineux club prepared to match Burnley’s wage offer as they prepare for life in the Championship following promotion from League One.
While Burnley can offer top-flight football, Jutkiewicz’s prospects of regular first-team action would be enhanced if he was to remain at a Championship club.
However, the Turf Moor hierarchy are confident of adding the striker to their ranks before Dyche takes his senior squad to Austria for a pre-season tour on Monday.
Boro head off themselves in three days time, and talks over a potential attacking arrival are at an advanced stage, with the possibility of a deal being completed before the start of next week’s training camp in Marbella.
While there is interest in Graham and Jelle Vossen, Boro have switched their attention elsewhere in the last couple of days, with an initial round of talks having proved reasonably productive.
The Teessiders kick off their pre-season programme with a hastily-arranged friendly against Romanian side ASA Tirgy Mures tomorrow lunchtime.
The game, which will take place at the headquarters of the West Riding County FA in Leeds, was originally publicised by as being open to the public. However, it will now take place behind closed doors with fans requested not to attend.