Reds track Tarky
Reporter: Matthew Chambers
Date online: 20 December 2013
LIVERPOOL have emerged as strong contenders for the signature of Athletic’s prized asset James Tarkowski.
Reds boss Brendan Rodgers, whose son Anton is on the books at Boundary Park, is an admirer of the 21-year-old centre back.
The Anfield giants, Athletic’s FA Cup, third-round opponents, may be willing to offer academy prospect Stephen Sama (20), a central defender brought in from Borussia Dortmund three years ago, in part-exchange to sweeten a deal.
Highly-rated prospect Tarkowski is expected to spark a bidding war when the transfer window re-opens at the start of the New Year, with a host of clubs showing interest.
In the Championship, Huddersfield and Burnley are among those believed to be looking closely at a player who it is felt could easily slot straight in at a level above.
Athletic manager Lee Johnson said he has had no offers but accepts that bids could arrive not only for his star defender but other talents among a young squad that has caught scouts’ eyes.
“I know there were a lot of people looking at Tarkowski,” said Johnson at his weekly press conference. “From my point of view, I am pleased as I want to keep him. Hopefully, he won’t be going anywhere.
“But we have got a lot of interest with people talking about a lot of our players. It wouldn’t surprise me if there were bids for one of four or five.
“But until you get asked the question seriously by a manager or chief executive, it doesn’t matter.”
Tarkowski’s current contract at Athletic runs until the summer of 2015.
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