Rotherham United face competition from at least three rival League One clubs in their quest to sign hitman Kieffer Moore on a permanent deal.
The Millers have aleady upped their initial offer as they look to put themselves in pole position to land the striker who scored 13 goals in 24 loan appearances before being recalled by parent club Ipswich Town at the end of December.
Boss Paul Warne says the Tractor Boys have decided to cash in on Moore rather than give him a chance in their Championship squad. The manager believes Rotherham have put enough money on the table to give them a fighting chance in the bidding war.
“I know there are three other clubs in for him in our league,” Warne revealed. “It’s not just us who know about him. He is scoring all the goals, so everyone knows him.
“We have got competition. Kieffer wants to come back. I texted him on Sunday and sent him his five best things he has done at the club.
“I am well aware of what an effect he had at the club, so if we can get him back we will.”
Charlton Athletic and Peterborough United are known to be interested in the 25-year-old centre-forward, and Wigan Athletic are also thought to be admirers. The player has also been watched by clubs in the Championship.
“We have got a much-improved bid in,” Warne confirmed. “I am led to believe it is one of the best. Ipswich will come back to us.
“In the ideal world, if I am not going to get Kieffer I would like to know now, but I have got a funny feeling it will drag on for a few weeks.”
The Millers, who have already begun their business in the January transfer window by sending young centre-half Manny Onariase on loan to League Two Cheltenham Town for the rest of the season, may be prepared to go even higher in their pursuit of Moore.
But Warne won’t risk affecting the unity in his squad which has helped his men win four and draw two of their last six matches to climb to seventh place and to within a point of the play-off reckoning.
“There is room for negotiation,” the boss said. “But we will go to what the value is and what we can spend. If someone comes in with crazy money, then we are not going to compete.
“If someone offers crazy money, they will back that up with crazy wages, and I am not going to have a player on double what the next best is on. I will not have that at this club.”
Warne is in daily contact with Moore and is also talking regularly to Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy, with whom he enjoys a good relationship.
“I am speaking to Mick every other day,” he said. “Fans can rest easy that we are trying our best. If that isn’t good enough, then so be it.”
The Millers have a rare weekend off this week before returning to league action at Oldham Athletic on January 13.