Lies, Damn Lies and Potential Transfers.
On a weekend offering a veritable smorgasbord of sport to delight any armchair enthusiast; Test cricket, Wimbledon, British Lions, Tour de France and Formula One.
Guess what the first item on Radio 5 Lives’ Saturday morning sports bulletin was? Romelu Lukaku! Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to silly season.
The media seem to feel compelled to fill the precious few weeks each year when there is no activity on the pitch with rumour, counter-rumour and idle speculation as to which player will be going where and for how much.
Every hint from an agent, every nod of interest from a manager and every murmur of discontent from a player is seized upon and inflated out of all proportion. Failing that, then journalists have been known to simply make stuff up.
Burnley, having cemented their place in the Premier League, have become grist to this rumour mill to an extent they had not experienced when in the less fervently scrutinised environs of the Championship.
This is not how Burnley like to operate, preferring to conduct their business with the quiet discretion of a Versailles courtier; avoiding public consumption until the deals are concluded.
For us supporters, this can be a source of irritation, as the club gives the impression that they are milling around the aisles, whilst more assertive shoppers are snapping up the bargains. This is not entirely justified; under the Garlick/Dyche regime, Burnley’s record in the transfer market has been one of sound and generally accurate judgement.
Michael Keane and George Boyd have now departed, popular and effective players who have contributed much during their time at the club, at a time which has been largely successful.
Whilst the duos parting is inevitably tinged with regret (it was jarring to see photos of Keane bedecked in the blue of Everton) they leave with the best wishes and gratitude of the fans who have accompanied them on the journey.
With their leaving and also that of Joey Barton towards the end of last season, there are holes in the squad which need addressing. The two acquisitions so far completed, represent promise (Charlie Taylor) and experience (Jon Walters), both are welcome and will undoubtedly serve the Clarets well, but they are not likely to have the fans drooling with anticipation.
Personally, I was slightly perturbed that Burnley allowed Jay Rodriguez to be snapped up by West Bromwich Albion. With players such as Keane and Barton leaving, it would have given the fans an enormous fillip to have had our “Jay Rod” back.
Nevertheless, I am perfectly prepared to place my trust in Sean Dyche to get the formation of his squad right. Clearly a central defender to replace Keane will be a priority, and it would be handy to recruit a winger with the ability to out-pace a defence.
The Crystal Palace midfielder James McArthur is reported to be on the “most wanted list” and Nottingham Forest’s Britt Assombalonga looks to be the Clarets’ current number one target but who really knows?
A more prominent role for Stephen Defour could well answer the need for a ball-playing midfielder and the rejected bid for Britt Assombalonga suggests that Burnley are also in the market for a striker.
All will become apparent in the coming days and weeks. In the meantime, I am happy to sit back in my armchair, watch the cricket and let the rumour mill turn, safe in the knowledge that Sean Dyche is getting on with the job.
This article was written by the mad keen Burnley Football Club observer Dave Thornley, who contributes regularly on the Burnley Football Club Clarets Mad forum. (TEC).