Ings has options as clubs circle

Manchester City want to sign Burnley striker Danny Ings on a free transfer this summer, but will have stiff competition from their rivals.

Ings has impressed in his first season in the Premier League, scoring seven times in 22 appearances even though Burnley are struggling.

He has also attracted interest from the other big clubs. Burnley resisted throughout the January transfer window all attempts to sign the 22-year-old Englishman who is their main hope to stave off relegation.

There was a late bid of around $7 million from Liverpool who are desperate to improve their attacking force.

City are the most likely though to get Ings and if that move fails Tottenham are keen too.

City need more homegrown players in their quota and see Ings as the perfect replacement when Frank Lampard moves to New York City and if James Milner leaves.

City’s Stevan Jovetic and Edin Dzeko have struggled for form and fitness this season and may be sold or part-exchanged this summer.

Liverpool want him too and are so keen that they tried to buy him on the condition that he stayed on loan at Burnley until the end of the season, but that attempt was denied under Premier League rules.

Liverpool were prepared to release Rickie Lambert to Aston Villa but he refused a deadline-day transfer there which would have given the Anfield club $7 million for the striker.

Liverpool initially had no intention of selling the 32-year-old former Southampton forward who they bought last summer, but were tempted to rethink by Villa’s straight cash offer.

Southampton are churning out top quality players. Saints striker Jay Rodriguez also remains on City’s radar as an Englishman who can enhance their striking options.

Rodriguez is about to return after a lengthy knee injury absence and if he can regain the sort of form that earned him an England call up then he may not be at St. Mary’s for much longer.

City will have their customary clear out in the summer and one likely to leave is unhappy winger Scott Sinclair who in his three years at the club feels his career has stagnated.

A loan signing from Aston Villa, Sinclair was one of England’s best wide men before when he moved to the Etihad but that moved stifled his progress because of lack of regular first-team games.

The 25-year-old forward said he was excited about joining a big club and looked forward to playing in the Champions League, winning trophies and maybe becoming a regular England international. But none of those ambitions materialized.

At City he often trained on his own on a Saturday and then watched Match Of The Day in frustration because he was not part of the action.

Sinclair hopes a summer move can change his fortunes because he says he is still highly motivated to regain the form that attracted City to buy him in the first place.

West Ham look set this summer to sign Senegalese international Kara Mbodj as a replacement for Winston Reid.

New Zealand defender Reid, 26, intends to move on when his contract is up after refusing to be sold last month.

The Hammers are resigned to losing him and after monitoring Mbodj’s brilliance at Belgian club Genk they are not too concerned by Reid’s insistence on leaving.

Genk are managed by Alex McLeish, who West Ham owners David Sullivan and David Gold used to employ at Birmingham City.

McLeish highly rates the 25-year-old center-back highly which is why they tried to sign Mbodj on Monday, deadline day, but failed.

Manchester United’s Tom Cleverley is another player set for a summer transfer.

The 25-year-old Englishman is out of contract at Old Trafford at the end of the season and he is wanted by Everton.

Cleverley is currently on a season long loan at Aston Villa but with them in relegation trouble, he wants to join a bigger club.

Everton could be the perfect fit, partly because Blues boss Roberto Martinez signed him on loan five years ago when he managed Wigan Athletic. They got on well. Martinez sees Cleverley as the ideal replacement for long-term injured Leon Osman and Steven Pienaar.

At least Martinez has bolstered his squad by bringing in winger Aaron Lennon from Tottenham on deadline day. Lennon posed on social media at his new club looking glum and felt forced to announce that he was happy to join the Merseyside club.

Cleverley has not impressed either United nor Villa fans this season but Martinez still believes he can get the best out of the midfielder who when at his most brilliant earned 13 England caps.

Martinez would love to sign Porto striker Jackson Martinez who is wanted by a raft of Premier League clubs, but he is unlikely to get the 28-year-old Colombian international.

Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham are interested in Martinez who recently announced that although fully committed to Portuguese club Porto, his ambitions lie in the English Premier League.

The big club’s are also monitoring Manchester United’s Adnan Januzaj who admits he suffers in boss Louis van Gaal’s system.

The 20-year-old winger said he is struggling to adapt to van Gaal’s demands and as a consequence has only played five times in the league so far.

The last of these came in Saturday’s 3-1 win over Leicester City at Old Trafford when Januzaj played well and may have done enough to impress the taxing van Gaal.

It was the first time the Belgian had started a league game since early November.

Januzaj is still not guaranteed a place. He was left out of the 18-man squad for United’s FA Cup fourth-round replay with Cambridge United on Tuesday which they won 3-0 but hopes to make the trip for the league game at West Ham on Sunday.

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