Midfield links wide of the mark

Jota in action for Brentford
Jota in action for Brentford

Contrary to reports in the national media, Burnley are not pondering a £6m move for Eibar’s Argentine central midfielder Gonzalo Escalante.

And sustained speculation linking the Clarets with Brentford’s Spanish attacking midfielder Jota is also unsubstantiated.

There were suggestions on Tuesday evening that Burnley had made enquiries about Escalante, who plays for Eibar in Spain’s La Liga.

The 24-year-old is a holding midfielder, and can play on either sider of midfield, and it is believed he is available for around £6m.

The former Boca Juniors youngster is understood to be interested in the move, however, while Burnley have recently appointed Ian Butterworth as new head of European recruitment, as they look outside Britain and Ireland for quality and value for money, there is no substance to the link.

The player impressed in a game where Burnley were scouting an opposing player, but that is as far as it goes.

Having been short of options in that area 12 months ago, Burnley have since brought in Steven Defour and Jeff Hendrick for then-club record fees, as well as Ashley Westwood in January.

And last week, they brought Jack Cork back to the club after two loan spells at the turn of the decade.

They supplemented a group that includes Dean Marney, who is pencilled in for a January return after his cruciate knee ligament injury sustained at Arsenal in January, while Scott Arfield can fill that role, and Aiden O’Neill and Fredrik Ulvestad are also options in that area.

Meanwhile, Jota has also been the subject of speculation throughout the summer, but I understand he is not a target for the Clarets.

Brentford were expecting an “imminent bid” for the 26-year-old from a Premier League club – which failed to materialise.

But that club was not Burnley, who have no interest in the player.