COLIN Cooper had already issued a “hands off” warning to interested clubs – long before Luke James handed in his transfer request.
Pools have just given the 19-year-old goal-getter a new contract so are under no obligation to sell – but if they do they will be looking to get somewhere close to £1million.
Last month, Cooper said while it may be flattering, his top players won’t be going anywhere unless he decides.
Speaking after the end of season awards, Cooper acknowledged both James and midfielder Brad Walker would go on to enjoy a career at a higher level – he just hoped they would be at the club a while longer yet.
“Ever since Jack Baldwin left us in January, people know we have a pool of talent here,” said Cooper.
“But if anyone wants to try to prise either of these two lads away from us, it will cost millions of pounds.
“From my point of view, I’m chuffed to bits our club can produce talent like this but also that Luke and Brad are delighted to pull on a Pools shirt.
“At some point they will have big and successful careers.
“The longer we can hold on to them gives us an opportunity to get to a level that all Pools fans want this club to get back to.
“We need players like these two to do that.”
However, it would seem James may be leaving Hartlepool United sooner than Cooper would have liked.