HULL CITY were last night understood to be edging closer to finalising a deal for their No 1 transfer target Charlie Austin.
The newly-promoted Tigers, who have made Scottish goalkeeper Allan McGregor their fifth signing of the summer, are determined to bring a reliable marksman to the KC Stadium ahead of their Premier League return.
Austin was earmarked as a key signing several weeks ago but Hull have so far proved unable to strike a deal with Burnley, who initially valued their top scorer from the last two seasons in the £7m bracket.
Hull failed to meet that figure with two bids but the Yorkshire Post understands a fresh offer in the region of £5m has been made in the last 48 hours.
The striker, who turns 24 on Friday and is also interesting Stoke City, has entered the final year of his contract at Turf Moor so the Clarets are well aware that their prize asset will be able to leave on a free next summer.
Celtic’s Gary Hooper has also been on the Yorkshire club’s radar this summer and talks have taken place in recent weeks with the Glasgow club but manager Steve Bruce is keen to now try to push through the Austin deal.
Hull have made clear all along that only one of their two striker targets will be signed. With the club determined to work to a budget, any other additions to the forward line – Norwich City’s Grant Holt has been linked – are likely to be on a loan basis.
Bruce is determined to increase his squad’s firepower ahead of next month’s Premier League return after netting 61 times last season – the lowest tally of the teams who finished in the top half of the Championship.
Meanwhile, Hull have signed goalkeeper McGregor after previously agreeing a £1.8m fee with Turkish club Besiktas.
In becoming Bruce’s fifth signing of the summer, McGregor, 31, has brought to an end the club’s search for an established goalkeeper.
Last season saw loanees Ben Amos and David Stockdale start all but five of the club’s 46 league games.
Stockdale’s return to Fulham in May and the London club’s inflated valuation of the Leeds-born 27-year-old led to Bruce looking elsewhere for a No 1.
An enquiry about Kasper Schmeichel was firmly rebuffed by Leicester City before Bruce turned his attention to McGregor, who spent one year in Turkey after being part of the exodus at Rangers following the Glasgow club’s financial implosion.
McGregor, a Scotland international, will join fellow summer signings George Boyd, Maynor Figueroa, Curtis Davies and Ahmed Elmohamady when the squad report back for pre-season training tomorrow.
He said: “I can’t wait to get started. This is a great chance for me to play in the Premier League.
“I got a call a while ago about the interest from Hull City and things progressed from there. Holidays stalled things a little bit, as they do at this time of year. But everything is done now.”
McGregor’s arrival means back-up goalkeeper Mark Oxley, who has made one brief appearance for the Tigers as a substitute, could join Oldham Athletic on loan for the season.