WARRIORS forward Macauley Bonne is a man in demand in the English game with Championship side Preston North End hoping to land the Charlton Athletic forward during this short summer transfer window.
Bonne is already on the radar of English Premier League sides Burnley and Fulham as well as Championship sides Derby County and Cardiff City.
The 24-year-old jumped three divisions last season when he signed for the Addicks from Leyton Orient but he did not show any jitters as he held his own in the Championship.
Bonne netted 11 goals for Charlton during a season which was interrupted by injuries at crucial intervals of the campaign.
Despite Bonne’s goals, the London-based club was relegated at the end of the season as they finished in 22nd place and one point away from safety.
Preston, who failed to secure a play-off place by just four points after finishing the campaign in ninth place, want to add fire power to their squad and have earmarked the Zimbabwean as a transfer target.
British media is reporting that Preston, who are known as the Lilywhites, are ready to offer Charlton a cut-price of £500 000 plus add-ons for the 24-year-old forward. Bonne’s market value currently stands at around £1 million.
Preston are hoping their bid will be accepted considering that Charlton are currently in a spot of bother as they face expulsion from the English Football League (EFL) unless current owners East Street Investments (ESI) sell the club.
ESI are currently engulfed in a bitter and murky ownership wrangle after a falling out between the directors.
ESI is now in the process of being taken over by a consortium led by Manchester-based businessman Paul Elliott, who announced in June he would take over as chairperson.
But that plan too was thrown into disarray when the ESI last week rejected the approach because three individuals involved in the consortium, including Elliott, had failed the EFL’s Owners and Directors’ Test.
While the club is burning in the boardroom and could soon find themselves booted out by the EFL, Charlton sporting director Gallen hopes they will be able to keep Bonne despite interest from various clubs.
“I’ve not had one club ring me about Macauley,” Gallen told the South London Press at the weekend.
“He might think that sounds negative — but I’m not being negative. I don’t want Macauley to go — no chance.
“I think he can go and score 15-20 goals in this division. He had a great return last season — 11 goals in the Championship having come from non-League.
“I don’t want Macauley to go and neither does Lee Bowyer. We’re really pleased no-one has made an offer.”
Boone was born in Ipswich to Zimbabwean parents and began his football career at his home town’s team’s academy until the Under-14 level.
He then moved to the Norwich City academy for a short stint before finally settling for Colchester United to further his development.
The Zimbabwean then made his debut for United as a 17-year-old in 2013 and went on to make 75 appearance for the club before loan spells at Lincoln City and Working.
Bonne then joined Leyton in 2016 where he scored 45 goals in 90 appearances as he helped the club win promotion to League Two from the National League.
That prompted Charlton to sign the Zimbabwean on a three-year deal for an undisclosed fee before the start of last season.
At international level, Bonne has represented Zimbabwe in two friendly matches with his Warriors career being stalled by paperwork challenges.
Bonne finally received his Zimbabwean passport last year but was unfortunately injured when he was supposed to make his competitive debut against Botswana in a 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier last November.