Peterborough United director of football Barry Fry has confirmed that Rangers scouts were in attendance on Saturday to watch Jonson Clarke-Harris against Accrington Stanley, per the Peterborough Telegraph.
And Fry also revealed that the club turned down multiple approaches from Championship side Bournemouth for Clarke-Harris’ services in January.
The 26-year-old emerged as Ivan Toney’s replacement last summer, coming in from Bristol Rovers for less than £1 million after scoring 26 goals in 42 outings in his year-and-a-half at the Gas.
Normally Toney’s goals would be hard to replace, but Posh’s conveyor belt of striking talent has rolled on as Clarke-Harris has been simply prolific, scoring 25 goals in 37 League One games this season (Sofascore).
He’s taken his game to a new level and his hat-trick against Accrington at the weekend showed that he had the instinctive side to his game in the six-yard box as well as being able to powerfully score from distance.
Peterborough will keep him until the summer no matter what, and right now we don’t know what division they will be in as they challenge for promotion to the Championship, and there was absolutely no chance they were going to sell him in January.
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That was despite the fact offers came in for him, with several second tier clubs chasing his signature and one former Premier League club in particular coveting him the most.
“There were several Championship clubs chasing Jonson in January and Bournemouth were the most persistent,” Fry revealed, per the Peterborough Telegraph.
“We had several offers for the player, but we turned them down flat, even though we could probably get five times what we paid for him.”
Football Insider revealed yesterday that Rangers scouts were watching Clarke-Harris as he netted a hat-trick against Stanley and Fry was able to confirm that – but they weren’t the only big club in attendance.
“Rangers have been to a lot of our matches this season and they were there on Saturday,” said Fry.
“Sheffield United were also there, but West Brom weren’t. I didn’t have a conversation about Jonson with any of them though.”
With Clarke-Harris continuing his goalscoring form since the closure of the transfer window, there will be much interest in the striker this summer.
Peterborough will be in a better position to keep him if they achieve promotion to the Championship, but even if that happens they may be tempted to sell for a fee upwards of £6 million.
That’s a lot more than they paid Bristol Rovers for his signature and he probably doesn’t have as much upside compared to Toney and not as much development left in him, but he certainly knows where the back of the net is and that will be attractive to big Championship clubs, Rangers and perhaps some lower-end Premier League outfits.