When Danny Ings was deemed inferior and released by Southampton as a schoolboy, little could he have imagined that he would be hogging as much column inch real estate as Lionel Messi in the January 2015 transfer window.
Both Liverpool – 13/10 to beat Everton next – and Tottenham were frequently linked with a move for the 22-year-old throughout the previous month, with his contract at Burnley set to expire in June.
As if those suitors weren’t high profile enough, English champions Manchester City have today tossed their expensively assembled hat into the Ings ring.
With Premier League and UEFA regulations geared towards the developing young, domestic talent and financial fair play sanctions increasing the value of free agents further, it’s understandable to see sides of such a reputations take an interest in the Clarets striker.
Yet, he is anything but a seasoned top-tier campaigner and, while his seven goals in 20 appearances so far deserves plaudits, it’s not as impressive as tallies mustered by some fellow lower-echelon sharpshooters.
Besides, Ings’ age means Burnley would be owed compensation if he were to leave at the end of his contract, with the fee reported at £4m.
All of these factors mean the top clubs would be best served prioritising one of these lesser-hyped players who will be available for nothing come June.
Yevhen Konoplyanka –Dnipro
Everybody wanted to buy him when he would’ve cost £20m, but now he’s free to acquire the interest has dried up.
The 25-year-old remains a strong source of midfield goals, bagging four in 12 Ukrainian Premier League outings so far.
Christopher Samba – Dinamo Moscow
Those looking for a bruising centre-back and have a sizeable gap in their wage budget that needs filling may find the former Blackburn stopper of interest.
His spell at QPR definitely diminished his reputation, but he was often regarded as one of the best operatives outside of the top four during his Rovers days.
Luiz Adriano – Shakhtar Donetsk
The 27-year-old is currently the Champions League’s leading scorer with nine strikes in five appearances.
Given the recent successes savoured by those to have cut their teeth at this Ukrainian outpost before moving to the Premier League – namely Fernandinho and Willian – Adriano should appeal to Liverpool especially, who have frequently struggled for goals in Daniel Sturridge’s absence.