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Page last updated at 16:37 GMT, Monday, 6 July 2009 17:37 UK

Burnley contact Hearts for Driver

By Brian McLauchlin

Hearts winger Andrew Driver
Driver made his debut for England Under-21s this summer

Burnley have offered Hearts about £1.5m - rising to a potential £2m - for 21-year-old winger Andrew Driver.

The clubs began talks over the weekend, but Hearts are holding out for £4-5m based on him being a newly-capped England Under-21 international.

And manager Csaba Laszlo thinks Driver would be better remaining with Hearts.

"I think Andrew Driver will be a Hearts player for the next season," he said. "He needs a little more time with us and then we can talk about his future."

Laszlo believes that another year in the Scottish Premier League would better prepare Driver for the rigours of England's top flight.

But Driver's stock has risen south of the border after he made his debut for Stuart Pearce's Under-21 side at the European Championships this summer.

However, it also means that Hearts are looking for a fee comparable to the value placed on his new international team-mates.

I told Andrew he can come back two weeks later than the rest of the players

Hearts manager Csaba Laszlo

Hearts are seeking something similar to the £3.5m paid by Wigan to Middlesbrough for Lee Cattermole or the £5m shelled out by Bolton to Birmingham for fellow midfielder Fabrice Muamba last summer.

England Under-21 forward Theo Walcott famously moved from Southampton to Arsenal for an initial £5m rising to £12.5m in 2006.

And Hull have reportedly agreed a £6m fee last month for Manchester United striker Fraizer Campbell.

Burnley might prefer to look to the £400,000 paid to Norwich by Peterborough for Joe Lewis in January 2008 and the £600,000 Manchester City agreed with Shrewsbury for Joe Hart in 2006, but they are both goalkeepers.

Clarets manager Owen Coyle, who was previously in charge of Falkirk and St Johnstone, knows Oldham-born Driver from his time managing in his native Scotland.

Laszlo maintains Driver will stay

And Coyle last week bought Scotland striker Steven Fletcher from Hearts' Edinburgh rivals Hibernian for £3m.

Defenders David Edgar and Tyrone Mears were also recruited from Newcastle and Derby respectively as promoted Burnley prepare for the step up to England's top flight.

Driver, who has been linked previously with Coventry and FC Twente but is under contract until summer 2011, was not among the Hearts party leaving for their pre-season training camp in Germany on Monday.

But that was because he has been given time off after his involvement with England's Under-21 campaign in Sweden, making his debut in a 1-1 draw in the group stages.

Laszlo told the Scottish Premier League club's website: "I told him he can come back two weeks later than the rest of the players.

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"After the training camp in Germany, he will be back training with us.

"He can have a holiday and then join up with the rest of the team after that.

"It was a great tournament for him to play in. It is a special moment in a young player's career, definitely."

Driver, who was an unused substitute as England lost the final 4-0 to Germany, is a product of Hearts' youth system.

Although born in England, his family moved north when he was a child and the Scottish FA remains hopeful of persuading Driver to switch allegiances should new rules be confirmed allowing international eligibility based on schooling.



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see also
Hearts sign up defender Kucharski
05 Jul 09 |  Hearts
Burnley bring in defender Edgar
01 Jul 09 |  Burnley
Burnley capture Fletcher for 3m
30 Jun 09 |  Burnley
Burnley complete Mears transfer
30 Jun 09 |  Burnley
Hearts test for German midfielder
02 Jul 09 |  Hearts
England U21 1-1 Germany U21
22 Jun 09 |  Internationals
Driver could still play for Scots
16 Jun 09 |  Internationals


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