Rafael Benitez targets Clarets striker
Burnley striker Andre Gray is currently a target of Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez, who hopes to land the Clarets centre forward for a cut-price £12m fee as Gray is currently refusing to sign a new deal at Turf Moor. Benitez is hoping to sign at least six players capable of making an immediate impact on the first team this summer, with Gray and Bournemouth’s Joshua King currently his leading attacking targets.
Gray’s contractual situation makes him an especially appealing option, with him entering the final year of his current deal this summer. Burnley officials have tried to tie him down to a new contract, but his refusal to agree to their proposed terms has significantly increased the likelihood of him moving elsewhere once the transfer window reopens.
The Clarets will not want to lose Gray on a free transfer in 12 months’ time and the Newcastle officials will attempt to exploit the vulnerability by tabling a £12m offer.
Gray scored ten goals in all competitions as Burnley successfully retained their top-flight status this season, but while his current employers will be looking to receive as high a fee as possible if they look to sell, Mike Ashley’s willingness to pay Newcastle’s transfer fees up front could enable them to push through an agreement for a price that suits them.
Tottenham and West Ham have also been linked with a possible move for Gray, but the former are understood to have alternative attacking options they want to pursue first and the latter would ideally like a staggered fee with a series of add-ons.
Burnley manager Sean Dyche remains hopeful of retaining Gray, along with centre-half Michael Keane, who is also entering the final year of his current deal, although he accepts the Clarets will always be vulnerable to clubs targeting their leading stars.