Steve Bruce to talk to Hull City targets: Emile Heskey, Paul Anderson and Paul Coutts in frame
HULL City will look to push forward negotiations with several transfer targets this week as manager Steve Bruce attempts to step up his business before pre-season starts next week.
Although the Tigers have so far been inactive in the summer transfer market, Bruce will hope his search for new blood bears fruit in the next seven days.
Heskey is the most high-profile name currently on Bruce's shopping list but former Nottingham Forest winger Paul Anderson and Preston midfielder Paul Coutts have also attracted City's attention.
Former England forward Heskey is currently enjoying a family holiday in the Middle-East and will mull over interest from the Tigers before he returns to England next week.
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Both the 34-year-old and his agent played down talk of a two-year contract offer from Tigers when contacted by the Mail yesterday, but Bruce's interest is clear after spells managing Heskey at Birmingham and Wigan.
A third spell together would rest upon City meeting the striker's financial expectations but Heskey is open to the idea of dropping down to the Championship after 15 years in the top flight. Leicester, Heskey's boyhood club, appear unlikely to follow up initial interest, according to sources in the East Midlands.
Elsewhere, City are also thought to be tracking former youth-team star Anderson over a possible return to the KC Stadium on a free transfer.
The winger is out of contract after leaving Nottingham Forest and is known to be hopeful of a move to City after a potential switch to Championship rivals Blackpool fell through on financial grounds.
Anderson spent two years on City's books as a youth before moving to Liverpool in 2006 as part of a swap deal that saw John Welsh move in the opposite direction.
A move back to the KC Stadium would unquestionably appeal to Anderson after he spent his childhood supporting the Tigers. He is also close friends with City skipper Jack Hobbs after their time together in the Anfield youth-team ranks.
The exit of Richard Garcia and the loss of Robbie Brady and Josh King back to Manchester United leaves Bruce with a paucity of wide options and Anderson, who can operate on either flank, would appeal as an established Championship performer.
Another name on Bruce's wish-list is Preston man Coutts.
The Mail understands a £400,000 bid would be enough to prise the highly-rated midfielder away from Deepdale and City are one of several Championship clubs keeping tabs.
Coutts, a former Scotland under-21s international, has endured a fractious relationship with Preston manager Graham Westley and former club Peterborough have joined Birmingham and City in the race for his signature.
The tough-tackling 23-year-old is best utilised as a central midfielder but can also offer energy from wide.
Although City are yet to announce their first new signing of the summer with less than a week remaining before pre-season, Bruce is hopeful of pushing through several of his targets in the coming days.
A double swoop for Manchester United youngsters Ryan Tunnicliffe and Michael Keane has been well documented, while American goalkeeper and former loan star Brad Guzan is among the preferred candidates to fill the vacant goalkeeper's spot at the KC Stadium.