Turf Moor Transfer Traumas.
With a haste that seems to become more indecent with each passing year, the English Premier League is upon us once again.
Whilst looking forward to the upcoming season with as much relish and blind optimism as any fan, for me, the anticipation is tinged with melancholy for the waning of yet another summer.
A touch of anxiety and uncertainty too, as it would seem that, in comparison to their rivals, Burnley have given the impression of being rather ponderous and flat-footed in their close-season transfer dealings.
A simple headcount would reveal that departures have outnumbered arrivals; the highest profile of which Michael Keane and most recently Andre Gray, have swelled the Clarets’ coffers sufficiently to encourage not unreasonable expectations amongst Burnley supporters that those funds will be re-invested on additional playing talent.
Instead however, the Burnley hierarchy have thus far done little to dispel the long-held image of a tight-fisted, parsimonious, risk-averse regime, no longer unable, but still unwilling, to back their manager with a loosening of the purse strings.
There has still been no replacement recruited for Keane’s central defensive slot and now that Gray has gone the Clarets find themselves minus a striker, with the best of the viable options in Burnley’s price range already snapped up.
The Burnley Board of Directorsperhaps should have pushed hard to bring Jay Rodriguez back to Turf Moor, rather than tamely allowing him to slip away to West Bromwich Albion. Kevin Long’s recent contract renewal suggests that any search for another centre back has been called off.
It is sad but not traumatic to see Gray go; he has been responsible for some stirring moments and his goals went a long way towards propelling Burnley to promotion two seasons ago. But there were times last season when he cut a surly and detached figure, his insecure first touch exposed by higher quality Premier League defenders.
Of the acquisition that have been made; Walters, Cork and Bardsley represent experience and Premier League nous, whilst Charlie Taylor brings with him considerable promise. All are welcome and will undoubtedly serve Burnley handsomely, but with the best will in the World, none can be classed as a sit-up-and-take-notice, marquee signing.
Such a signing would provide a huge shot of momentum and assuage the fears of doubting supporters. But as the transfer deadline creeps ever nearer the hopes of Burnley pulling off a transfer coup recede exponentially.
But no matter, come three o’clock on Saturday, Burnley will take the field at Stamford Bridge with (as the song goes) hope in their hearts. Whilst there can be few more daunting openings to the new campaign than the defending champions on their own patch, Burnley nonetheless have the spirit the will, the organisation and, on their day, the talent to spring a surprise; especially if the hosts find themselves a tad slow out of the starting blocks.
This article is the opinion of long suffering Burnley fan Dave Thornley, who contributes regularly on Clarets Mad, writing on all matters relevant to Burnley FootballClub. (TEC).