It never rains but it pours.
Just when Tom Heaton’s England call-up and a couple of wins had lifted the mood a bit, the news of Ashley Barnes’ injury brings us crashing back down to earth.
Chris Boden from the Burnley Express reports that Barnes is likely to be out long-term, missing the start of next season.
Understand news on Ashley Barnes is worst-case scenario and he suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury at Aston Villa on Sunday
— Chris Boden (@bodenknights) May 26, 2015
Burnley's 4th cruciate injury in just over a year. Terrible news for a player who had a terrific season in the Premier League
— Chris Boden (@bodenknights) May 26, 2015
First and foremost it is awful news for Barnes himself, who acquitted himself very well in his debut Premier League season. The challenge from Fabian Delph was a bad one but it did not seem the sort of tackle to rule someone out for several months.
Barnes will be a massive loss to the club, especially adding to the impending departure of “massive Burnley fan” Danny Ings, who is leaving at the end of his contract.
That leaves Sean Dyche with three strikers – Sam Vokes, Lukas Jutkiewicz and Marvin Sordell. Between them they scored zero Premier League goals this season. It’s not really exaggerating to suggest a striker crisis is already developing at Turf Moor.
It was already clear we need to bring in a goalscorer in the summer but we perhaps now need to sign two new strikers during the transfer window. With Kieran Trippier seemingly on his way out of the club too, Dyche will have a large rebuild on his hands to prepare for a promotion push.
Strikers do not tend to come cheap and when players are affordable it is usually for a good reason. Take Juke and Marv as examples. The outlay on them was minimal in Premier League terms but they still ended up being poor value for money. Both will have the chance to make amends in the Championship, but they were bought to be Premier League players and must be judged as Premier League players. There is much work ahead for that pair to win over supporters.
Speculating about potential signings is one of the best ways to get through the barren football-less summer months so we asked on Twitter who fans thought we should go for. Among the daft and sensible suggestions were a few interesting names…
Bringing up former players is a typical Burnley fan thing to do but Nugent doesn’t seem like a bad shout on the face of it.
He is likely to be available after he found himself on the fringes at Leicester during the last season, but his wages could prove to be prohibitive.
Nugent has always been a regular goalscorer in the Championship and he seemed to enjoy his loan spell at Turf Moor a few years back – would he be keen on a return?
Wages would presumably be the big hurdle here and that might be the case for a few others names on this list.
We probably aren’t going to be shopping in the Championship top scorers list, so MK Dons striker Grigg may well be a very interesting suggestion.
The 23-year-old scored 23 goals as the franchise club won promotion to the second tier and he was particularly prolific in the run-in when the pressure was on, hitting 10 in their last 12 games after a dodgy spring.
Grigg would probably not be cheap, but Charlie Austin and Danny Ings are proof of how valuable players from the lower leagues can turn out to be after a couple of years of development.
Bamford will be at the top of a few shopping lists this summer and the young Chelsea man is certain to be in demand.
Prolific in various loan spells, Bamford is expected to go out on loan again, but perhaps a return to Middlesbrough is most likely for him.
Jose Mourinho may want him to be tested in the Premier League, but Dyche should certainly be asking the question. Bamford pretty much guarantees goals in the Championship.
Adam Le Fondre
Tom Farrar has already made a powerful case for the former Reading striker, who has hit double figures in his last two seasons at Championship level despite moving around a lot and being played out of position.
It’s only a couple of years since Le Fondre was boshing them in at Premier League level. He scores goals, and lots of them.
Wood is another striker to have moved around a lot in the last few years and in that regard there are perhaps parallels to be drawn with Sam Vokes, who was positively nomadic before settling at Turf Moor.
The last season has been a bit of a write-off for Wood, who scored just once, although that was for Leicester City in the Premier League.
He has previously scored plenty in the Championship and would presumably be surplus to requirements at the King Power.
And on Football Manager he scored an absolute ton of goals for me a couple of years ago. So there’s that…
My own selection is Clough, the 2o-year-old Bolton attacker who’s been compared to Lionel Messi and dubbed a “wonderkid” in the press.
He’s extremely raw but six goals in 10 appearances before a dislocated shoulder ended his season in March showed he has heaps of ability.
Clough is going to be in demand this summer and whoever gets him is signing a striker with vast potential. Sticking my neck on the line, he’s a potential £10m+ player and a future England international.
Bolton will be keen to hold on to their prized talent but they are in such a huge amount of debt that any serious offers will simply have to be considered.
Mackie certainly fits the profile as a Dyche-type signing. He works his socks off and you know what you’re going to get from him.
It’s fair to say the 29-year-old’s career has stagnated in the last couple of years but he is not too old to make a success of himself elsewhere.
He’s never been prolific but he has also regularly been asked to play on the wing because of his high work rate.
Gray didn’t have much of a career to write home about before this season, but he scored 18 goals to almost take Brentford into the Premier League.
Strong, fast with an eye for goal, Gray is certainly a player worth keeping an eye on, but Brentford are well-backed by a wealthy owner and will be under little pressure to sell one of their main assets.
Martin’s injury perhaps cost Derby County a place in the Premier League as their form collapsed without him.
Scoring over 20 goals two seasons in a row is no mean feat and Martin is certainly one of the top strikers in the Championship.
At the age of 25 he has plenty of time to develop further, but perhaps he is a little similar in style to Juke and Vokes?
And after the palaver we had trying to sign Craig Bryson from the Rams last summer, could we seal the deal this time?
Wells is a name that always seems to come up and it is no wonder – he is a serious goalscorer.
Last season was a strange one for the former Bradford City man as he found himself in and out of the Huddersfield side.
Despite that, he hit 14 goals in 37 appearances, although three of those strikes did come at Chesterfield in the Capital One Cup.
He’s quick and he scores goals, but is he good enough?
Beckford caught the eye in the League One play-offs, scoring a hat-trick to send Preston North End back into the Championship.
Released by Bolton, Beckford certainly put himself in the shop window and there will no doubt be plenty of clubs happy to take a punt on him on a free transfer.
At the age of 31 his best years are arguably behind him, but he was a fine player at the highest point of his career.
An £8m player not so long ago, Gayle has been on the periphery at Crystal Palace since the arrival of Alan Pardew, who preferred Glenn Murray up front.
Gayle is rapid and certainly knows where the goal is, but he may see his future in the Premier League.
Palace would certainly want to recoup a large percentage of their outlay on the former Peterborough man, but he would certainly score plenty in the Championship.
It might be a push financially, but Gayle is definitely a player of the right quality if we could afford him.
I’ve barely scratched the surface here, but there were far too many names suggested to go through individually.
Here’s some more: Izzy Brown, James Wilson, Rudy Gestede, Darren Bent, Will Keane, Marvin Emnes, Andi Weimann… the list is almost endless. Although this is the end of it. (Jamie added this joke to Natalie’s piece a little while ago while editing it, so I, as the editor of this piece would like to point out the lack of depth in Jamie’s joke reserves – ed.)
Do any of the above names catch your eye? Got anyone else in mind? Comment below.