Chase intensifies for Burnley ace Rodriguez

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PREMIER League newcomers Southampton have upped the ante in the chase for Jay Rodriguez with an offer that could potentially break Burnley’s transfer record.

The Saints, who have long courted the 22-year-old frontman, failing with a £5m offer last summer, are ready to test the water with a bid that is believed to be in excess of the £6.5m the club received for Steven Fletcher from Wolves two years ago.

It is thought the club want £8m for their prize asset, and the beauty pageant looks to be well underway, with Championship rivals Cardiff City also expressing a firm interest in the England Under 21 cap, who netted 21 goals last season, despite missing nine of the last 11 games.

The Bluebirds were reported to have offered £5.5m bid for Rodriguez on Wednesday, although the club had still, as of yesterday morning, not received any official offers.

But even if City were to step up their interest with an official approach, they are highly unlikely to land the youngster, who is expected to have his pick from a number of Premier League sides to progress his career.

Everton, Newcastle, Fulham, Reading, Norwich and Aston Villa have also been linked with the homegrown star, while newly-promoted West Ham are also reported to have an interest - although they appear to have been scared off by the asking price.

As Sam Allardyce looks to strengthen his squad after returning to the top flight at the first attempt via the play-offs, he ear-marked Rodriguez as a target, but he is only thought to be willing to pay £5 for him, which would immediately rule the Hammers out of the runnning for his signature.

Rodriguez still has a year left on his Burnley deal, although he would command a fee via a tribunal should he stay at the club, providing he moved domestically.

The club are realistic enough to know he may have outgrown the club, however, and are eager to get the best possible figure they can for a player that has blossomed since coming through the ranks.

Meanwhile, Cameron Howieson became Burnley’s latest full international on Wednesday, winning his first senior cap for New Zealand as a substitute in their friendly against El Salvador in Houston, Texas.

The game finished 2-2.

The All Whites travel to Dallas to face Honduras tomorrow.

Howieson could be joined on the international honours board at Turf Moor by left back Daniel Lafferty.

Lafferty has been called up to the Northern Ireland senior squad for the first time, alongside Michael Duff.

The pair have both been selected by Michael O’Neill for the friendly against Holland in Amsterdam on Saturday, June 2nd, as the Dutch teams prepare for the European Championships, which start the following week.

David Edgar will also be in action that weekend for Canada against USA.

Edgar linked up with Canada for a training camp in Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday, ahead of the game in Toronto on Sunday, June 3rd in a game to mark the 100th anniversary of the Canadian FA.

And the Canucks then face Cuba in Havana on Friday, June 8th and Honduras in Toronto on Tuesday, June 12th in the next phase of their bid to qualify for the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil.

Ontario-born Edgar won his eighth cap for Canada at the end of February after establishing himself as a regular starter for club and country in an impressive season.