Championship trio linked to Walsall star Erhun Oztumer
Erhun Oztumer has been linked with a trio of Championship clubs as he edges toward a Walsall exit.
The Saddlers are already planning for life without Oztumer, their top scorer for the last two seasons, after he expressed a wish to assess his options this summer.
Bolton, Preston and Blackburn, who were promoted from League One this term, are all reported to be interested in the 27-year-old, whose contract at the Banks’s is due to expire at the end of next month.
Boss Dean Keates has already identified a number of potential replacements for a player who has been a driving force for the team over the past two campaigns.
Keates, who left non-league Wrexham to replace Jon Whitney as boss in March, has already predicted a busy summer as he seeks to overhaul a squad which only narrowly avoided relegation.
Striker Andy Cook last week became the club’s first signing of the close season when he signed a two-year deal.
“I had a busy one last summer and I expect this to be exactly the same,” Keates said.
“We will come back and I will make sure there is a team that goes there out there and gives everything for the football club and fans next season.
“It will be a busy summer but that’s part and parcel of my job and that’s why I’m here. To give the town and the fans something to be proud of.”
Oztumer, who began his career at non-league outfit Dulwich Hamlet, scored 32 goals in all competitions after joining the Saddlers as a free agent in the summer of 2016.
He is understood rejected several offers of a new and improved deal at the Banks’s and in March made clear his ambition to play at the highest level possible.
The Saddlers will, meanwhile, head to Cheltenham Town in pre-season.
Keates and his team will travel to take on the Robins at the LCI Rail Stadium on Saturday July 28 (kick-off 3pm).