Peterborough United have warned Hartlepool United that they won’t be upping their bid for teenage striker Luke James.
Posh boss Darren Ferguson finally admitted interest in the 19 year-old following Tuesday night’s (August 19) defeat by Sheffield United at London Road.
It’s understood that the League Two club have rejected a bid close to £1 million for a player who netted 16 times last season.
But Ferguson insists Posh won’t be held to ransom by any club with an eye on too big a slice of the £5.5 million received for striker Britt Assombalonga three days before the start of the current season.
He’s ready to move on to other targets if James, who handed in a transfer request on Monday (August 18), remains elusive.
Ferguson said: “Our valuation of players we are interested in won’t change because we have banked a bit of money for Britt.
“We have a valuation of Luke James and his club have every right to reject our bid, but we won’t be upping it and we have other targets that we will now pursue,
“Our valuations of players won’t change just because our bids get rejected. We’ve made that mistake in the past when we’ve gone back in for players after initially having our bids rejected.
“Me and the chairman are now adamant that won’t happen any more.
“At the moment the Luke James deal is dead in the water because they have rejected our bid and we won’t be improving our offer.
“We can’t afford to hang around for players when we have others we are interested in. Anyway we have shown already this season that we have enough up front.
“Kyle Vassell has three goals in three games, Tyrone Barnett offers us something different and Conor Washington, although he needs a goal, is playing well.”
“In an ideal world I would like two players in and five out before the end of the transfer window.”
That window shuts on September 1 and Posh will certainly be using the next fortnight to seek another striker, should the James deal collapse completely.
Sources close to Hartlepool believe the decision to turn down the Posh offer has led to the highly-rated youngster to hand in an official transfer request.
He signed a new contract in the summer at the Victoria Ground which puts Hartlepool in a strong bargaining position.
Posh prised highly-rated centre-back Jack Baldwin away from Hartlepool for £500k last January and the League Two side would find it hard to reject Posh if they made an offer that tops the million-pound mark.
Hartlepool boss Colin Cooper said recently: “Ever since Jack Baldwin left us in January, people know we have a pool of talent here, But if anyone wants to try to prise Luke away it will cost millions of pounds.
“From my point of view, I’m chuffed to bits our club can produce talent like this, but also that Luke is delighted to pull on a Pools shirt.
“At some point they will have big and successful careers, but the longer we can hold on to them gives us an opportunity to get to a level that all Pools fans want this club to reach.”
Posh boss Darren Ferguson, who is normally reticent to discuss transfer bids of any sort, stated after Saturday’s (August 16) win over MK Dons that he expected a new signing to arrive at London Road before tonight’s clash with Sheffield United.
He revealed Posh had made four bids for new players last week. Posh were also today linked with a move for 20 year-old Gateshead United winger Marcus Maddison, one of the club’s stars on their run to the Conference play-off final last season.
Maddison, who was formerly on the books at Newcastle United, scored 10 goals for Gateshead last season and was selected for the England non-league team.
But Posh chairman Darragh MacAnthony tweeted today, saying: “Amazing the amount of players we are linked with. Very convenient methinks for some clubs to use us as endorsement to try flog a player.”
Posh goalkeeper Bobby Olejnik, a regular on the first team for the past two seasons, has joined League One rivals Scunthorpe United on loan and made his debut in a 2-0 home defeat by Fleetwood tonight.