CLARETS boss Eddie Howe is eager to continue his youthful revolution at Turf Moor by snapping up Leeds midfielder Adam Clayton and Portsmouth utility player Joel Ward.
But he faces competition from Championship rivals for the duo’s signature.
Clayton, 23, has been transfer-listed by Neil Warnock after talks stalled on a new contract, with 12 months remaining on his existing deal.
And Ward, 22, is another target, with Pompey expected to jettison a number of players after their relegation to League One.
Both are expected to cost in the region of £400,000, and fit perfectly into Howe’s transfer blueprint - young talent with a good potential resale value.
Clayton started his career at Manchester City before moving to Elland Road two years ago, and he made 37 appearances for United last term, scoring six goals - including Leeds’ goal of the season at Leicester in November.
He has spent time on loan at Carlisle United, MK Dons and Peterborough United.
Leeds boss Neil Warnock said: “I have to look at it and say I’ll be signing a player for £400,000 or £500,000 and I don’t feel Adam’s worth more than the player I’ll be signing.
“With what I’m looking for, I’ve got to generate something to get me what I want. That’s how I looked at it and I’m trying to be a realist.
“I’m sure there’ll be a number of clubs after Adam because he’s done well this season in a lot of games.”
Should Clayton move on as expected, Leeds are likely to move for Ward, while Crystal Palace and Ipswich are also interested in the versatile Pompey youngster, who can play at right back, centre back and as a holding midfielder.
Leeds are thought to have met with Ward last week, as they look to pair him again with another Burnley target Jason Pearce, who joined United earlier this month.
Portsmouth administrator Trevor Birch said, “Joel Ward will be the next to go but I am not certain of the timescale on that.
“That is progressing. I would have thought something should be happening in the next few days.
“It is not necessarily going to be Leeds. He has met a few other clubs in total and has been talking things over with them.
“We are waiting to see what the outcome will be.”
Howe knows Ward well, having signed him on loan from Portsmouth in the second half of the 2008/09 season while boss at Bournemouth.
There could be movement on both Clayton and Ward next week.