Plymouth Argyle close to deal on Alex MacDonald
MANAGER Carl Fletcher is close to concluding a permanent deal for Alex MacDonald from Burnley in the January transfer window.
The 22-year-old attacker, who recently completed a second loan spell with the Pilgrims, has reached a verbal agreement on a full-time return.
However, Fletcher must move players on before he can recruit MacDonald, or anyone else, because of the financial situation at Home Park.
Below-budget attendances this season, and the continuing legacy of Argyle's crash into administration in 2011, mean there is no spare money for Fletcher to spend.
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He has put 35-year-old centre-back Darren Purse on the transfer list in an attempt to improve that situation.
Fletcher has no problem with Purse continuing as Argyle captain for as long as he remains at the League Two club.
And there is no guarantee Purse, who is under contract to the Pilgrims until the end of the season, will leave during January anyway.
The versatile MacDonald has made 35 appearances in two loan spells at Argyle over the past year and scored six goals.
His chances of regular first team football at Burnley seem remote so he is ready to make a permanent move to Home Park.
Fletcher told Herald Sport: "I have spoken to Macca. He wants to come (to Argyle) and we want him here.
"It's all done verbally, we have just got to wait on finances. We have got nothing to play with at the minute and we have just got to wait and see where we go with that.
"It's like any kind of business, you have got to try to run it properly.
"With all the trouble we have had at the club over the past few years, there is no point throwing money about.
"You have got to run it as a business. I'm sure everyone involved with the club, and all the fans, appreciate that.
"We have got good fans who are understanding of where we were and where we are now. We have to cut our cloth accordingly.
"We are a club with great traditions and we want to be here for years and years in the future, so we have got to make sure the finances are done in the right way."
Purse told Herald Sport last week he did not want to leave Argyle but understood the monetary reasons why he had been made available for transfer.
Fletcher would not comment on whether there had been interest in Purse from other clubs as yet.
He said: "As it stands at the minute, he's our player until the end of the season.
"Unless another club comes in and wants him, and everything works, he's going to be our player. That's where we are with it.
"If he stays, then great. If he goes, we will cross that bridge when we come to it.
"In football, things can change so quickly from one day until the next. But, as it stands, he's our player and our captain and an important part of the team."
Meanwhile, Fletcher is also hoping to extend the short-term contracts of wingers Joe Lennox and Isaac Vassell.
Both players have deals which expire on December 31.
Argyle are awaiting approval from the Football League that new deals for the pair will see them still comply with salary cap regulations.
Lennox, 21, scored Argyle's equaliser in the 1-1 draw away to arch rivals Exeter City on December 15.
Vassell, 19, is a first-year professional who has not featured for the senior side this season but made eight substitute appearances in 2011/12.
Fletcher said: "We want to give Vas another six months an see him develop. He's still coming into himself and growing.
"We see something there with him, and obviously Joey can produce stuff for us.
"From the footballing side of it, I would like to keep them but it's just down to finances now."