While Troy Deeney is almost certainly off the radar now with Sean Dyche himself publicly declaring the club could not “entertain” any player that commands such a hefty fee, it could also be possible that West Brom are proving too difficult a nut to crack regarding defender Craig Dawson, with interest of the player appearing to be dying down and no imminent bid of £3 million being readied as was suggested last week.
Although it may be frustrating for supporters to hear that their club cannot compete with the rest of the Premier League’s bottom half teams in terms of spending, it should be remembered that the board are making sure that Burnley is a safe and secure football club financially and one which will not fall into debt or liquidation. By following these strict guidelines it will make life more challenging for boss Dyche and his scouts though certainly far from impossible as he prepares to make more adjustments to his team before August 18th.
There have certainly been many transfer target columns on NNN prior to this one but now I feel we all now have a more transparent understanding of the restrictions which Dyche will be working under.
So here is how I (and he) could look to exploit the market.
Michael Keane (Loan, Manchester United). Efe Ambrose (£3-4 million, Celtic)
Keane is a talented young centre half who is unlikely to break into the first team fold at United yet again this season. The arrival of Louis van Gaal means a revamp of tactics and the squad as he is set to be given an enormous war chest to scour the top talent around the globe. Keane wants to play football and his performances for Blackburn on loan in the second half of last season were of a very high standard, prompting speculation that they want his signature on loan for the forthcoming season. There have been links from other Championship clubs including Cardiff though there has been little top flight interest, which could mean that Burnley seal a deal for the season.
Ambrose is a slightly more tricky acquisition to get, however if you are to believe recent speculation, it would seem Burnley are front runners for the Nigerian centre half’s signature. While he wouldn’t be the marquee signing that supporters of Burnley would love to see, he is certainly one that shows a subtle statement of intent which may go unnoticed by the pundits. You could argue that as a centre half for Celtic in Scotland’s top division, it would be easy to stand out – and you would be correct. His main traits are his impressive performances for the Glaswegians in the Champions League against world-class teams, as well as his versatility at playing both full-back and centre-back in Nigeria’s excellent World Cup campaign in Rio. Certainly, with links to both Ambrose and Dawson, there would have to be only one winner in my head.
Mikele Leigertwood (Free, Reading), Nathaniel Chalobah (Loan, Chelsea)
I feel the midfield area is somewhere where you need experience. This is because it’s the most important area on the pitch. Mikele Leigertwood is someone who ticks that box and who could make a real impression on the Burnley team. At 31 and having just been released by Reading due to him being a high earner, Leigertwood would jump at the chance at a return to the top flight and could be a real bargain. He has experience at left-back and centre-back which are experiences that will have helped his all-round game as a defensive midfielder and at 6′ 2”, he is a fierce presence in the middle and would add steel to an already very solid and workmanlike duo of Dean Marney and David Jones.
Chalobah meanwhile is at the other end of the spectrum in some aspects but is very similar to Leigertwood in others. Firstly, he is only a young chap at the tender age of 19 and has no top flight experience other than perhaps having the pleasure of sitting on the Chelsea sidelines and watching the Blues at Stamford Bridge. What he does offer though is youth and freshness which one could argue is needed in that Burnley midfield. Personally, I would opt for an entirely experienced midfield three because of that knowhow they will possess, however, Chalobah cannot be ignored for the way he strolled into the starting eleven of Watford, Nottingham Forest and Middlesbrough and for his versatility at also been able to play in the defence when required.
Matthew Etherington (Free, Stoke), Jordon Ibe (Loan, Liverpool), Danny Graham (£1 million, Sunderland)
That word is being banded about a lot and I’m going to use it again – experience. It’s certainly something offered by veteran Matthew Etherington who only a few years ago was tearing teams apart in the top flight, always contributing to Stoke with a number of goals and assists each season. But Stoke have come along way since their initial promotion and Etherington has slowly fallen down the pecking order until he was released this summer. You would be foolish to think his career was finished however as Etherington is only 32 and still has at least another two seasons of top flight football within him. He’s without doubt got that knowhow with his time with the Potters and formerly with West Ham and could teach the current crop of wingers a trick or two to help better their game.
Jordon Ibe is that one player I would categorise as being different in the list of transfers. Many of my recruits would be classed as safe bets and although they would broaden the squad, they wouldn’t necessarily add anything new, only upgrade what is already there. Ibe would be different. With the Reds revolution well and truly underway following Luis Suarez’s departure, I really cannot see Ibe making the fold quite yet – although he inevitably will in the next few years. His form during pre-season has been excellent with the young man showing pace, flair and the ability to pick a pass. He really could be a coup if a club opts to take a punt on the winger, with the only rumoured interest so far seemingly from clubs at the lower end of the Championship. He’s hardly the finished article, his finishing looks rather erratic, but what better person to nurture him than Dyche.
Finally, I would like to see fallen star Danny Graham in a Claret and Blue shirt next campaign. For anyone who only began to follow Graham since about two years ago, you must think I’m mad. He’s had a shocking run of form at both Premier League and Championship level with the Black Cats, with Hull and with Middlesbrough.
However, for those who can remember what possessed Sunderland to seal a £6 million swoop for the striker, it was his superb predatory instinct in front of goal which saw him bag 14 goals in 39 appearances for Swansea in their debut Premier League season. In fact, from 2006 up until that point, in all competitions he had eight goals in the 06-07 season (League One), 14 in the 07-08 season (League One), 15 in the 08-09 season (League One), 14 in the 09-10 season (Championship), 27 in the 10-11 campaign (Championship) – all of which is proof that this boy could finish in whatever division he played in and for whatever reason, he became an almost recluse-like figure and is now available.
Do you think Burnley could move for any of the above names? Comment below.