The intriguing £20m Newcastle United raid that Man City will be desperate to see happen

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The Premier League champions could receive a sell-on bonus from one prospective Magpies deal

I’m no mathematician, but you’d have to say that, on balance, Burnley are very much being handed the short end of this particular stick. Last summer, the Clarets forked out around £15 million to sign promising young goalkeeper James Trafford from Manchester City, with a further £4 million dotted about in potential add-ons. At the time, there were those who questioned the wisdom of spending so much on a player who had, at that fledgling point in his career, played no higher than League One.

Now, less than 12 months later, Burnley face the very real possibility of making a loss on Trafford. According to various reports, Newcastle United are taking a keen interest in the England youth international, and have tabled a bid of around £16 million for his services.

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I know what you’re thinking, ‘But Jason, £16 million is bigger than £15 million’. To that end, you would be correct. The catch is that the agreement which took Trafford to Turf Moor in the first place also included a 20% sell-on clause, meaning that his former employers, Man City, would be entitled to a hefty chunk of that fee. Far from ideal.

There are other caveats to consider, of course. For one thing, Burnley have not yet accepted Newcastle’s offer, and there are suggestions that they could hold out for as much as £20 million before they acquiesce to Trafford’s departure this summer. For another, even absorbing a small loss on a player who ended their relegation campaign consigned to a watching brief could be regarded as perfectly acceptable, if viewed in the right light.

But there would be something a little galling about losing money on a talent who was ostensibly signed for the future so soon after bringing him into the club. You see, Trafford was recruited on the strength of his potential; it is this same high ceiling that has convinced Newcastle of his worth, and that led to his inclusion in England’s provisional squad for Euro 2024. By no means is he the finished article, however. At various points last term, his inexperience was blatant, and from mid-March onwards he was supplanted between the sticks by Arijanet Muric.

That being said, he is evidently a massive talent, and one who you suspect would really benefit from a season in the Championship as part of Burnley’s presumed promotion push next term. In an ideal world, you would imagine that the Clarets would like to keep him around for a while longer. Sometimes decisions are taken out of the hands of relegated clubs, though.

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To worsen matters, Italian transfer guru Fabrizio Romano claims that Trafford himself has already agreed personal terms with Newcastle. Negotiations between the Magpies and Burnley are still ongoing.

But the likelihood is that sooner rather than later a fee will be agreed upon, and when it is, it is unlikely to represent any kind of money-spinner for the Clarets. It will, however, signify a tidy piece of business for Manchester City, who will presumably be keeping half an eye on proceedings, hoping that Burnley can drive Newcastle’s bid - and their own sell-on bonus - just a little bit higher.

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