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Risky strategy sees West Ham, Newcastle vying for £35m man on a free

West Ham and Newcastle will have to wait until the summer to sign James Tarkowski after Burnley settled on a risky strategy, and which club the defender would prefer to join has been revealed.

The Clarets centre-half, 28, has been one of the most dependable performers in the Sean Dyche era at Turf Moor. Speculation has persistently swirled over potential moves to clubs with higher ambitions. To ward off the vultures, Burnley slapped a hefty £35m price tag on Tarkowski’s head.

However, his contract status has given those who seek his signature cause for hope.

Tarkowski is in the final year of his contract at Burnley. As such, the likes of West Ham and Newcastle were linked with sanctioning a cut-price January deal if Burnley were determined to avoid losing him for free.

Now, online outlet Football Insider have provided a fresh update on the ongoing situation. Firstly, they reaffirm Newcastle and West Ham’s interest, and note the Hammers’ need is the greater having just lost Angelo Ogbonna to an ACL injury.

Burnley reportedly retained hope of convincing Tarkowski to pen fresh terms. However, even the lure of becoming their best-paid player ever could not convince him to commit his future.

But Burnley are in the midst of yet another relegation scrap. And to give themselves the best chance of beating the drop, they are determined to rebuff all approaches in January.

That will mean Tarkowski will leave for nothing in the summer despite being valued at £35m not long ago. While it could be the difference between relegation and survival, the club’s accounting team won’t be best pleased.

Tarkowski is stated to hold genuine ambitions of cutting it at a club competing in Europe. West Ham are on an upward trajectory under David Moyes and barring disaster, look set to have European football to offer once again next season.

Perhaps with that in mind, the article notes Tarkowski would have ‘jumped at the chance’ to join West Ham in January. But given Burnley’s stance, it looks like both he and the Hammers will have to wait a further six months.

Marseille’s Duje Caleta-Car is another who is on Moyes’ radar if he deems reinforcements in January are a must.

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West Ham lodge Barcelona approach

Meanwhile, West Ham have sent a proposal to a Barcelona player as they look to complete a January swoop, according to reports.

One position they could look to strengthen is at goalkeeper. Lukasz Fabianski has been superb in recent seasons. But at 36, he is now firmly in the twilight years of his career.

Alphonse Areola joined on loan from Paris Saint-Germain in the summer and could be the long-term successor if his option to buy is triggered.

A reliable back-up would still be required, however, and Spanish outlet Sport revealed last month that Barcelona shot-stopper Neto was a target for Moyes. And Sport Witness, citing reports in the Spanish media, now provide a promising update on the transfer hunt.

They state that West Ham are one of the first teams to offer Neto a route out of Barcelona. An official approach has been made, with Neto now in the driving seat. Barcelona will not stand in his way if West Ham submit a sufficient offer.

Neto wants a transfer to boost his chances of making Brazil’s World Cup squad next year. He has only made two appearances in all competitions so far this term.

READ MORE: West Ham put wheels in motion to snatch bargain transfer from Leeds United

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