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Cherries: Groves closes in on new defenders
MANAGER Paul Groves has revealed he could imminently complete his recruitment drive as Cherries close in on their top transfer targets.
Groves yesterday confirmed that he had identified possible left-back signings while also edging nearer to finalising a deal for Miles Addison.
The Cherries boss last month reported that left-back and central defence were the two areas he was focusing on after already boosting his attack.
And he looks set to bolster his squad in those positions in time for the start of full pre-season training next Wednesday.
Groves told the Daily Echo: “We have got a couple of left-backs that we have earmarked at the moment.
“But, as it stands, we are still not in a position to be able to announce anything or say anything about who it is.
“It is getting narrowed down and we are getting to a stage where, hopefully by next week, we can have people in and around it to be able to fill that position.”
Former Cherries loan star Addison, who has a year remaining on his Derby contract, is the preferred centre-half recruit after being made available for transfer by the Rams.
Boss Nigel Clough told the Derby Telegraph that he was hoping to reach an agreement with Cherries this week.
Groves said: “It has been an ongoing process of trying to get to a position where both parties agree with what is put in place.
“We are close to where we can, hopefully, start to get down to the nitty-gritty of it.”
Another player on Cherries’ radar is free agent Andrea Mancini, son of Manchester City manager Roberto.
Groves has confirmed there is a “strong possibility” of the 19-year-old Italian linking up with the Cherries squad next week.
Groves said: “If it did, he would be involved in and around the development group.”
Groves also reported that Cherries had received no bids for any of their players, with speculation continuing to surround the future of Marc Pugh.
Sources in Lancashire claim ex-Cherries boss Eddie Howe, now in charge of Burnley, could be primed for an attempt to lure Pugh from Dean Court.
Cherries could look to cash in on the 25-year-old as he has turned down a new long-term contract and has just 12 months remaining on his existing deal in Dorset.
Derby and Cardiff City have also been previously linked with the cultured Lancastrian playmaker.
Meanwhile, Groves and his backroom team spent the past two days assessing the fitness and conditioning of Cherries’ players at Dean Court.
Squad members deemed to need extra work will begin training today, while the rest will be given another week off and return next Wednesday.
Groves does not plan to name the players needing extra training but says some of his men have already volunteered to come back early.