Brett Pitman could leave Bristol City in cut-price deal
Brett Pitman could be allowed to leave Bristol City for as little as £60,000 in the new year.
The out-of-favour striker this week completed a short-term loan move to League One Bournemouth after failing to break into City manager Derek McInnes' Championship side.
The Cherries have already drawn up a three-and-a-half-year contract for Pitman to sign when his loan spell ends on January 3.
Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe has money to spend in the transfer window and wants Pitman to help fire his upwardly mobile side to promotion – but reports on the south coast suggest the Cherries could land the Channel Islander for a cut-price fee of £60,000.
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City officials have declined to comment, but if true, the sale price will represent a considerable shortfall on the £600,000 the Robins paid Bournemouth when then-manager Keith Millen brought Pitman to Ashton Gate in August 2010.
Pitman scored 13 goals in his first season in the Championship, but has gradually fallen out of favour since McInnes succeeded Millen in October last year.
Bournemouth made an approach for Pitman 48 hours before the transfer window closed in August, but were rebuffed by City.
Since then, the arrival of fellow strikers Sam Baldock and Steven Davies have further limited Pitman's opportunities to just three substitute appearances in the second tier and his market price has slumped accordingly.
Not surprisingly, the Jerseyman jumped at the chance to renew his partnership with Howe, the manager who gave him his big break during his first spell with the south-coast club.
Pitman said: "Eddie coming back (from Burnley last month) was a massive factor. I don't think there is any secret about our relationship.
"We get on and there is no denying we work well together, so, hopefully, we can do that again.
"The main reason for coming back was to play football. I love the club and I like living here, but, most importantly, the people here are ambitious and I really think we can go to the Championship this season."
His departure is sure to divide opinion among City fans, some of whom feel he has not been given a fair crack of the whip.
But McInnes has plenty of alternative attacking options at his disposal and needs to free up cash to help address issues raised by a defence that has yet to keep a clean sheet this season.
Moving Pitman out will certainly enhance the Scot's prospects of recruiting a centre-back ahead of this evening's deadline for loan signings.
Although Matthew Bates and Liam Fontaine forged an effective partnership at the heart of City's back four in last Saturday's 1-1 draw with Blackpool, McInnes has precious little cover should either be injured.
Lewin Nyatanga and Stephen McManus are both sidelined for at least the next month, while centre-back Louis Carey has only just returned to training after recovering from a knee problem.
Birmingham City defender David Murphy will be sidelined for at least six weeks due to an exploratory knee operation. The left-back's absence has prompted the Blues to extend Paul Robinson's short-term deal at the club for a further two months.
Cardiff have agreed a loan deal with Norwich for defender Simon Lappin, who will be available for the Bluebirds' trip to Barnsley on Saturday.