Burnley figure opens up on ‘most challenging’ transfer window, failure to sign left-back and deadline day departures

A key figure at Burnley has claimed January was one of the “most challenging” transfers window he’s experienced in his 22 years in the game.
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The Clarets ended up making three additions last month, with Maxime Esteve and Lorenz Assignon arriving on deadline day after striker David Fofana had already joined from Chelsea.

But Matt Williams, the club’s chief operating officer, has admitted Burnley tried and failed to complete further deals.

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“This one was probably the most challenging that I’ve experienced in my 22 years in the game,” he told BBC Radio Lancashire.

“Purely from a numbers position, league position and the fact it was a really quiet window across world football, not just domestic football.

“To get the business we have done was pleasing. We tried to do an awful lot more, but at this stage of the season people don’t want good players to leave their clubs.”

Fans have expressed frustration that a left-back wasn’t brought in last month, which leaves Burnley light on options in that area of the pitch.

Lorenz Assignon was one of three players to join Burnley during the January transfer window.Lorenz Assignon was one of three players to join Burnley during the January transfer window.
Lorenz Assignon was one of three players to join Burnley during the January transfer window.

“It’s not for the want of trying,” Williams added.

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“We could have signed three or four left backs that wouldn’t be any better than the players we’ve already got in the building.

“We’ve still got Charlie Taylor to come back, Vitinho can play there and Hannes Delcroix, who did ever so well against Tottenham in the FA Cup. People forget that.

“If you look up and down the leagues and around world football, during the last couple of windows there has been a shortage of talented left-backs available on the market that are affordable.

“But on Friday morning the recruitment team were looking at left-backs for the summer because it is an area we need to improve.”

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Deadline day also saw the departures of two of last season’s title-winning heroes, with Connor Roberts and Anass Zaroury joining Leeds United and Hull respectively, albeit both on loan.

Williams suggested the Clarets were reluctant to let them go but refused to stand in their way.

“Connor and Anass are two really good players who, in an ideal world, you wouldn’t let go. But it’s important for them to continue to play football.

“Robbo is at an age where he needs to play football, he wants to play football. He’s got one eye on the March internationals where if he’s sharp and at it playing in the Championship he will play for Wales – and Wales have got a good chance of going to the Euros in the summer.

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“Anass is another, he wants to play and play regularly. For him it makes sense to go to a club like Hull who play a similar style of football to what we play.

“He will get some game time and he’ll come back in the summer where we can reassess the situation again.”

CJ Egan-Riley, Scott Twine, Darko Churlinov and Michael Obafemi all left on loan last month, while Denis Franchi sealed a permanent move to Italy.

Owen Dodgson, Dara Costelloe and Michael Mellon joined Burnley’s new partner club Dundee, also on loan.

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