FULHAM boss Martin Jol is expected to fuel a bidding war for Clarets Golden Boot winner Jay Rodriguez.
The Cottagers have already had a £5m. bid rebuffed for the striker, with the club setting a minimum £8m. pricetag on the 22-year-old.
Fulham, currently ninth in the Premier League, are not expected to meet the Clarets demands. But, with Andrew Johnson and Pavel Pogrebnyak both out of contract in the summer, Jol is believed to have put Rodriguez at the top of his wish list and is gearing up to make a fresh bid to get the ball rolling for his signature.
Newcastle, Norwich, Bolton, newly promoted Southampton and Scottish Premier League champions Celtic are in the hunt for the 21-goal hitman and as the competition intensifies Championship title winners Reading are also keen to draw the England Under-21 cap towards the Madejski Stadium for their return to the top flight.
Everton boss David Moyes is also said to be an admirer of Turf Moor’s prized asset and Championship play-off semi-finalists Cardiff City have also joined the race as the list of suitors continues to grow.
Rodriguez, who was included in the PFA Championship team of the season, has a year left to run on his contract, and had been the subject of a £5m-plus offer from the Saints last summer, just months after agreeing a new two-year deal with the Clarets.
Regarding the increased speculation linking him with a move away from his beloved Clarets, Rodriguez said: “I’ve had another enjoyable year with Burnley. It’s a pleasure to play at Burnley.
“I’m still a Burnley player, I’m still contracted, and that’s what I look forward to. Next season I’m looking forward to working hard and getting myself fit and see what happens. I don’t listen to any speculation, you hear it but that’s about it. It’s really nice. It builds your confidence, especially with the teams surrounding the speculation. But for me I’ll just keep myself to myself and continue working on my own game. As from now I’ll just be working hard.”
And on the most prolific season in his young career, and the ovation received on making a substitute appearance in the final game of the season against Bristol City, he added: “Scoring 21 goals has been a dream for me. I wanted more goals with the chances I’ve missed but I’m probably too critical. With the games I’ve missed as well I’d have liked to think I’d have scored a few more. But I’m happy with the season.
“It’s amazing when you hear them singing about you. It’s one of the best feelings in the world, you can’t put it in to words. It’s one of those feelings I never thought I’d experience so it’s really pleasing.”