MIDDLESBROUGH have told Wanderers and the rest of Lukas Jutkiewicz’s Championship suitors to stump up £1million if they want to sign him.
Weekend reports suggested Blackburn Rovers may have joined the chase for the 26-year-old front man, who it now definitely surplus to requirements at the Riverside.
Boro are keen to reinvest cash raised by the sale of Jutkiewicz and another former Wanderers target Marvin Emnes to sign a couple of players this summer.
They have already been strongly linked with a move for Bournemouth’s Lewis Grabban, although Cardiff City are the only club believed to have hit the £3m clause in his contract.
Local reports claimed in April that Aitor Karanka could hold out for closer to £2m for former Everton prodigy Jutkiewicz, but with both sides eager to part ways, it now appears Boro’s Spanish manager has set the bar at half that total.
Speaking in the North East press, Karanka outlined his plans to bolster his attack.
“The basis of the team is built,” he said. “We had 15 clean sheets (last) season, so you can see that the basis of a successful team is there.
“Now, we have to address the positions where we have had problems, and that is at right-back and with the strikers.”
Sources at Wanderers maintain their situation had not changed – and paying a £1m fee at this stage of the close season looks unlikely.
The club are still working hard to get budgets into shape for Financial Fair Play, although the situation now appears much more manageable after the departure of big earners Zat Knight, Chris Eagles and Tyrone Mears.
Dougie Freedman played down the chances of Jutkiewicz making a return in his final press briefing after the season ended but has yet to completely rule out a deal.
The Whites boss is also fully aware the club’s fans are eager to see “The Juke” back in a Bolton shirt, following a successful loan spell that saw him score seven goals in 16 starts.
But for now it appears Freedman will concentrate on completing the final details of the free transfers he has already agreed including Charlton defender Dorian Dervite.
Wanderers have confirmed they will sign Millwall winger Liam Feeney on a two-year contract when his contract at The Den expires on June 30.