CHRIS McCann is Eddie Howe’s first – and potentially most important – signing of the summer.
The Clarets returned for pre-season training at Gawthorpe yesterday, and the news Burnley fans have been desperate to hear was confirmed as the 23-year-old Dubliner committed his future to the club by signing a new two-year deal.
The saga has run all summer, with Howe eager to tie down McCann, who he gave the captain’s armband for the final game of the season against Cardiff City.
McCann played the last four games of the campaign, having played only 100 minutes since September 2009 after serious knee problems and a subsequent setback after a head operation to relieve excess fluid following complaints of repeated migraines.
He returned good as new at Derby in April, scoring a goal of the season contender in the 4-2 win at Pride Park, and after a nervy summer for Howe and the supporters, he has extended his stay at the club.
Premier League Bolton Wanderers were linked with the player – with former boss Owen Coyle a huge fan, once describing him as the “photo-fit modern-day midfielder”, and Coyle was not alone in his admiration.
However, the club have secured his services in a major boost, and Howe can now look to bolster the squad, as he looks to pair McCann with Jack Cork.
Burnley remain very much in the hunt for Cork, who spent the last season and a half with the Clarets on loan from Chelsea.
Southampton are the only club so far to have made an acceptable offer to Chelsea, and the Saints are believed to be offering Cork in excess of what the Clarets can stretch to in terms of wages.
Cork, however, is not thought to be keen on a move to St Mary’s, preferring to return to Turf Moor.
Meanwhile, young forward Alex MacDonald has also agreed new terms with the club, joining Dominic Knowles and Alex-Ray Harvey in signing new deals.
MacDonald, who had a spell on loan with SPL side Inverness Caledonian Thistle last season, has signed a one-year contract.
Championship rivals Hull City look to have ended their interest in Clarets striker Chris Iwelumo after snapping up Nottingham Forest’s former Burnley loan man Dele Adebola on Wednesday.
Tigers boss Nigel Pearson was linked with a move for Iwelumo earlier in the summer as he searched for a new target man.
Adebola, 36, was a free agent after leaving Nottingham Forest at the end of the season.