Bell set for Hatters switch
By Tom Adams
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Luton have agreed a fee for highly-rated Rushden & Diamonds midfielder David Bell.Championship outfit Luton Town have made their first foray into the January transfer market by agreeing a fee for highly-rated Rushden & Diamonds star David Bell.
The former Republic of Ireland Under-21 international has been locked in talks with The Hatters after the two clubs agreed on a fee of £100,000 for his services, and is now expected to tie up a move to Mike Newell's side.
Bell will provide strong squad competition at Kenilworth Road as he is able to play anywhere across midfield, and will link up with former Diamonds team-mate Paul Underwood should he complete his switch.
The League Two outfit are also set to lose winger Andy Burgess after Oxford tabled a bid reported to be around £50,000.
The 24-year-old is engaged to the daughter of U's boss, and former Diamonds chief, Brian Talbot, and his path to The Kassam Stadium could be clear after bids of £25,000 were reportedly turned down from Northampton and Southend.
Diamonds boss Barry Hunter wished Bell the best as his exit from Nene Park draws closer, but criticised Burgess for his refusal to play for the side against Peterborough
"It would be a dream move for Bell to join a Championship club who are not too far away from home," Hunter told Rushden Today.
"I think it's also a good deal for the club as he would have been out of contract in the summer.
"He felt it was time to move on to a higher level and he goes with our best wishes.
"I've already told everyone that I asked Burgess to play on Saturday and he refused.
"He said he did not want to in case he got injured and his head was not right. Our supporters must also be disappointed how he has treated them."
Whilst confirming the impending exit of the duo, Diamonds supremo Richard Palmer also confirmed the club would be looking to reinvest the money raised by the sales.
"We would expect Burgess and Bell to be leaving us very soon - possibly before the weekend and if not then by next week," said Palmer.
"Bids have been accepted for both players and discussions are ongoing. But Burgess has made it very clear that he wants to go. There will probably be one or two other departures as well.
"We will make money available to Barry Hunter for more signings. Ideally we would like to keep hold of Bell's fee and release the Burgess money to the manager if he needs that to spend at his discretion as we aim to move up the league table."