HULL CITY boss Grant McCann has conceded the club might have to sell Newcastle United transfer target Jarrod Bowen this month if the forward refuses to sign a new contract.

Bowen is the subject of considerable interest from clubs in English football’s top two divisions, with Newcastle manager Steve Bruce one of a number of bosses keen to sign the 23-year-old this month.

Magpies officials have discussed Bowen’s situation with the Hull hierarchy, but the Tigers have always maintained they will not be selling their leading goalscorer unless someone meets their valuation of around £22m.

That is more than Newcastle would want to pay this month, and also exceeds what Leeds United, another club with a strong interest, would be willing to offer.

However, Bowen’s contractual situation could force Hull to shift their position before the transfer window closes next Friday.

The attacker’s current contract is due to expire at the end of the season, and while Hull are in a position where they can trigger a 12-month extension to effectively buy themselves another year, they do not want Bowen to be heading into next season without a new long-term agreement in place.

Hull have offered an improved deal, but despite a number of discussions with Bowen and his representatives, the paperwork remains unsigned. As a result, McCann admits the Tigers might be forced to sell this month before Bowen’s value begins to drop.

“There have been no bids for Jarrod, nothing has come to me,” said McCann, whose side host Chelsea in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday. “But as has been publicised, a new and improved offer has gone to Jarrod, and we’re just waiting to hear back from that.”

Bruce has been monitoring Bowen’s position from the moment he was appointed Newcastle head coach, and while he concedes his previous spell in charge of Hull might make his former employers reluctant to do business, he remains hopeful a deal can be struck.

Leeds are equally hopeful of completing a transfer, but the opportunity to step up to the Premier League would appear to give Newcastle the edge over their Championship rivals if it came down to Bowen having to choose between the two clubs.

Bruce is adopting a ‘mix-and-match’ approach to this month’s transfer window, attempting to combine permanent deals with an eye to the long-term with loan agreements that solve short-term problems.

Bowen is his leading permanent target, having scored 16 goals in 28 Championship appearances this season after bagging 22 goals in 45 starts last term.

Bruce also remains hopeful of wrapping up a loan deal for Valentino Lazaro, with Newcastle’s recruitment team having held a final round of talks with the Austrian full-back earlier today.

The last few days have seen an elaborate game of cat-and-mouse play out, with Lazaro speaking to Newcastle, Red Bull Leipzig and Bologna.

Having looked destined to move to Newcastle at the start of the week, after his agent, Max Hagmayr, attended St James’ Park, Lazaro appeared to have chosen a move to Leipzig when his representatives were pictured talking to senior officials from the German club on Tuesday.

Bologna threw their hat into the ring 24 hours later, but things appear to have turned full circle today when senior Newcastle sources were once again making increasingly bullish noises about their prospects of pulling off a deal.

Lazaro is expected to make a final decision over his future in the next 24 hours, with Newcastle officials hoping he will travel to Tyneside at the weekend to undergo a medical.

Newcastle have also been linked with a possible move for Danny Rose, with the Tottenham full-back having reportedly had a fall-out with Jose Mourinho.

The Magpies are on the look-out for a left-back with Jetro Willems and Paul Dummett out for the rest of the season, and would be interested in signing Rose on loan if Spurs were to pay a proportion of his wages.

Meanwhile, Newcastle have cut ticket prices for Saturday’s FA Cup fourth-round tie with Oxford United for those aged 12 and under to just £1. The club have already sold more than 45,000 tickets for the game.