The race for the signature of Peterborough United striker Craig Mackail-Smith is hotting up.
Posh have now accepted bids believed to be in the region of £3 million from three clubs for the 27 year-old. Mackail-Smith is scheduled to hold talks with two Premier League clubs and a Championship side this week.
Posh Director of Football Barry Fry declined to name the clubs involved, but Mackail-Smith was linked with Premier League side Stoke in a national newspaper yesterday (12 June).
Fry said: “Craig is wanted by a lot of clubs and we have given him permission to talk with three of them this week.
“He is scheduled to meet them with his agent and then it will be down to him, but he is in no rush and I wouldn’t be surprised to see other clubs show an interest soon.
“Personally I wouldn’t mind seeing Craig in our side at the start of the season. We could still sell him before the end of the August transfer deadline, but it really is down to Craig what he does.
“He may get a fabulous offer from the first club he sees and decide to move there, but I’d be surprised if anything happens before the weekend.”
Mackail-Smith is an unlikely target for Stoke who normally pursue well-built, powerful strikers. Wigan, Everton and QPR have all been linked with a player who bagged 35 goals as Posh charged to promotion from League One.
Meanwhile Fry returned from the Football League chairmen’s conference over the weekend in Cyprus in a frustrated mood.
Posh have seen five bids for new players rejected, including offers of £600,000 and £500,000 respectively for MK Dons striker Sam Baldock and Bournemouth centre-back Jason Pearce. Posh have also failed so far to land Dagenham & Redbridge winger Danny Green.
Fry added: “It was all doom and gloom in Cyprus as only the big clubs appear to have any money. Clubs are cutting squads as there are big financial changes ahead in a year when television money drops by 26 per cent and there are question marks over the solidarity payments from the Premier League.
“Which all makes the fact that our bids have been rejected rather surprising, including a couple for players we haven’t named yet.
“But there is still plenty of time and we will keep going.”
Posh chairman Darragh MacAnthony has been tweeting his frustration at the lack of progress in building a squad competitive enough for the Championship.