Burnley boss Sean Dyche still searching for options in wide areas

Sean Dyche is still trying to remedy Burnley’s lack of options in the wide areas.

Tuesday, 10th August 2021, 9:00 am
Maxwel Cornet

It is no secret that the Clarets are searching for players to back up Dwight McNeil and Johann Berg Gudmundsson - the only senior wingers available to Dyche - after the departure of Aaron Lennon last June, and Robbie Brady at the end of last season.

Lennon is currently back training with the club after a season with Turkish Süper Lig club Kayserispor, but Burnley have seen a move for Internazionale’s versatile Ashley Young foiled by his former club Aston Villa, while there remains an interest in Maxwel Cornet of Lyon, RB Leipzig’s former Charlton and Everton wideman Ademola Lookman, and Ainsley Maitland-Niles of Arsenal.

Previously, Dyche has been forced to use midfielder Josh Brownhill narrow on the right, and left back Erik Pieters has played wide on either flank, and that is something he would ideally like to have a more fitting solution for.

He is pleased that he has no major injury worries ahead of Saturday’s Premier League opener with Brighton, although Kevin Long and Dale Stephens will both miss out, and he said: “It’s good that we have kept the fitness high, as regards injuries, but we are short, you can see that, particularly in the wide areas, we know that, your asking Browny to go out there and at various other times Erik, so that’s something we’re still looking at.”

The market has been relatively quiet with the Euros and Copa America taking place this summer, although some of the bigger deals are beginning to emerge, with Manchester City breaking the British transfer record to land Jack Grealish from Aston Villa for £100m.

Will that deal have a domino effect through the Premier League?: “The market has been quiet across the board apart from the real super power stuff, but I don’t think we’ll be spending £100m!

“Maybe (that deal will kick-start the market), we’ll wait and see, it will be interesting to see if it does, not sure, it’s a funny kind of period, which everyone knows, as regards recruitment.”

Former Clarets striker Danny Ings joined Villa from Southampton as a result, with the Saints moving for Blackburn’s Adam Armstrong, while Chelsea’s deal to bring Romelu Lukaku back to Stamford Bridge looks like seeing former Manchester City front man Edin Dzeko joining Inter, with Tammy Abraham replacing him at Roma.

Ings was valued at a record fee for a tribunal - £6.5m plus £1.5m in add ons - when joining Liverpool from Burnley in 2015, joining Southampton for £18m in 2019 after a season on loan.

His £30m price tag comes as no surprise to Dyche: “I thought he had the capability to go for a lot of money - but I couldn’t believe the measly amount we got, that’s for sure!

“It’s just bizarre, you look back and think ‘how was that possible?’, but that’s the joys of tribunals.”

As Dyche looks to add to his squad, he is in the relatively early stages of a relationship with a new chairman in Alan Pace, who took over from Mike Garlick in January.

There is more money available than under the previous ownership, but Dyche accepts it remains a case of evolution rather than revolution: “It’s not about money, unless you have super power money, which some have, it’s about alignment, players are still coming in on certain contracts, not open contracts, if you’re Man City, they can put them on whatever they want, whatever they want to pay you, Liverpool, Everton, Chelsea, all these clubs and many more.

“We still have a model, there might be a little bit more flexibility but I’m sure it’s not all going to be ripped up and they just start again.

“It’s still a process that takes time, and we often can’t cherry pick, we have to look for the players that might be available that fit into our market.

“I don’t see a radical shift in that.

“Everyone knows the runners and riders, trust me, there are no secrets, we’ve done well with a few under the radar, Popey and Johann, Browny, but most clubs know the runners and riders, the players out there that are decent, and it’s just the ones that fit us.”