Burnley have spent the last few years building a strong, Premier League side but last year things went slightly awry as they found themselves in a relegation scrap. Next up on our Premier League preview series is Sean Dyche and his Burnley side.
State of play
Burnley come into this season hoping to push on and look towards the top half of the table rather than behind them again. Last season, they finished 15th in the Premier League, six points ahead of relegated Cardiff City in 18th. That’s a hell of a drop on the previous season where they finished seventh in the division, not far behind the likes of Manchester United.
Over the summer, they haven’t spent a whole lot of money. They’ve brought in four players for a combined fee in the region of £8.5million. Jay Rodriguez (£5million) returns to the club from West Brom, Bailey Peacock-Farrell (£2.5million) from Leeds, Erik Pieters (£990k) from Stoke City and Ryan Cooney from Bury have all arrived.
Meanwhile, they have managed to hang on to most of their big names with Tom Heaton the only first team regular departing the club. So based on that, squad strength should be somewhere around the level it was at last year. They haven’t improved all that much but they haven’t really lost anything either – it’s the performances that need to change.
They’ve had a pretty decent pre-season this summer three wins, two draws and one loss from their six warm up matches. The pick of the bunch was a 6-1 drubbing of French outfit OGC Nice at Turf Moor last week.
Burnley Signing of the Summer
There wasn’t many to pick from, but the stand out signing of the four from Burnley this summer is forward Jay Rodriguez. As well as that, he also brings knowledge of the club having started his career with the Clarets. He brings versatility with his ability to play off the left or through the middle, he brings a knack for goal scoring and he brings a wealth of experience.
By the time the season finishes, if he can keep his fitness, £5million may very well look like the bargain of the summer. That “if”, whether or not he can keep his fitness, is a very big “if” unfortunately. If it does work out, this could be one of the best signings of the whole summer – lets hope it does.
As I said earlier, it’s time to start looking up for Burnley – but I’m not sure their season will be all that different to last. I don’t see them getting relegated, but they won’t break the top half either I don’t think.
Somewhere between 11th and 15th seems to be the most likely scenario come May next year. I think the main thing stopping them breaking that top ten is the quality of the teams above them – they’ve all massively improved their teams this year and I just don’t think Burnley have strengthened enough to do it.
If they can find that defensive security they had two seasons ago and get James Tarkowski back to his best, they could surprise everyone again.
*All transfer information taken from https://www.transfermarkt.co.uk/fc-burnley/transfers/verein/1132