Former Burnley loan defender Cahill linked with Turf Moor return

Gary Cahill holds off Paul Dickov while on loan with Burnley
Gary Cahill holds off Paul Dickov while on loan with Burnley
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Burnley have been linked with a move for former Clarets loan star Gary Cahill.

The Chelsea captain leaves on a free transfer at the end of his contract this summer, after seven and a half years at Stamford Bridge, where he won the Champions League, Europa League and Premier League.

Cahill waved goodbye to the home supporters on Sunday as a late substitute in the 3-0 win over Watford, and, aged 33, remains keen to stay in the top flight.

In a season where he has been largely ignored by Maurizio Sarri, he could have joined Fulham on loan in January, and will have his suitors this summer.

Sean Dyche is an admirer of the former England skipper, saying only last Wednesday, when asked about James Tarkowski and Ben Mee's international ambitions: "It’s up to Gareth (Southgate), he’ll decide that, - (Harry) Maguire, I’m a big fan of Cahill..."

Cahill, then 18, made his first senior appearance with Burnley, after joining from Villa on a season-long loan in November 2004, and went on to make 32 appearances in all competitions, scoring once, winning a number of player of year awards at the club.

Steve Cotterill, who had scouted him on numerous occasions before getting the Burnley job in the summer of 2004, felt at the time he would go on and play for England, and went on to win 61 caps.