BURNLEY’S Championship rivals Derby County have rejected a £1.2m bid for centre-back Jason Shackell – but contrary to reports, the Clarets have not made the offer.
The former Norwich defender was believed to be top of Eddie Howe’s wish list last summer, but the 28-year-old plumped for a £750,000 switch to Pride Park from Barnsley.
Shackell was an ever-present as Derby finished two points and a place ahead of Burnley in 12th, and he was stand-in skipper after Shaun Barker suffered a knee injury that could rule him out for the whole of next season.
However, while centre-back is an area Howe is keen to strengthen, he is unlikely to move again for the Stevenage-born star at that price.
Derby boss Nigel Clough accepts there will be interest in the player after a season where he finished runner-up in the Rams’ player of the year award to Craig Bryson.
The Rams boss said: “I think it is inevitable after his good season – there are not too many centre-halves out there as good as him at this level.
“As always, every bid we receive will be judged on its merit, and whether we can get in a replacement. If we have not got a replacement lined up and available, then we don’t do anything.
“The same applies to any player. If an offer allows us to replace a player with a better one, that is part of the on-going process of trying to move forward.”
Meanwhile, stories linking the Clarets with out-of-contract Cardiff City goalkeeper Tom Heaton are also wide of the mark.
Heaton, 26, is to leave Cardiff after two years with the Bluebirds, spent predominantly playing second fiddle to David Marshall.
Cardiff boss Malky Mackay explained: “Tom is an outstanding luxury to have at number two, and we were so lucky to have him here.
“He deserves to be playing first-team football regularly, but unfortunately he found himself up against a goalkeeper in David Marshall who I rate as one of the best three in the Championship.”
The former Manchester United man starred in the run to the Carling Cup Final – saving a penalty from Steven Gerrard in their ultimately unsuccessful penalty shoot-out – but wants regular first-team football.
Burnley, along with Bristol City – who have released David James – and Sheffield Wednesday were reported to be interested in Heaton, but I understand the Clarets can be ruled out of the chase.
Howe has Lee Grant as his No.1, while long-serving Brian Jensen is mulling over a new deal, and rookie keeper Jon Stewart has an option for another year, after ending the season on loan at Alfreton Town in the Conference Premier.