Burnley "not likely" to do any transfer business before close of domestic window
Sean Dyche admits Burnley are “not likely” to bring in any new faces before Friday’s domestic transfer deadline at 5 p.m.
The club brought in keeper Will Norris from Wolves and midfielder Dale Stephens from Brighton ahead of the international deadline earlier this month.
But that looks like being the extent of their business over the summer transfer window.
So Dyche will have to battle on with the squad he has at his disposal, and on that front, the signs are positive in terms of players returning to fitness.
Ashley Barnes and James Tarkowski both started the last two games, Barnes playing his first first team football since New Year’s Day, and Tarkowski making his first appearances of the season.
Robbie Brady and Johann Berg Guudmundsson were back on the bench at Newcastle last time out a fortnight ago, and have since featured for their countries in the international break.
That leaves Jay Rodriguez, Ben Mee, Matt Lowton and Jack Cork, who are closing in on a return, while Bailey Peacock-Farrell withdrew from the Northern Ireland side to face Norway on Wednesday night, having suffered a minor hip injury in the warm-up.
Dyche explained: “We’ve managed to get some good work into the players over the break this week.
“Ben’s making progress – it’s been a long-winded one, an awkward one, he had a slight re-injury which set him back a bit.
“He’s on the grass currently, but he is going to need a period to get back to full fitness.
“Jay Rodriguez is back on the grass and training with us.
“Matt Lowton is also back on the grass but not with us yet, training with the physios.
“Corky is a bit longer situation, but is making progress.
“And the only one we’re waiting on is Bailey (Peacock-Farrell).
“So things are looking slightly better.
“This break has worked for us, with having the Monday game, because we’ve had the extra day to push the players slightly harder to increase their fitness.”
Dyche said, of the group he has to work with: “I think everyone would miss the players we’ve had out, but I do believe in the group we’ve got.
“Do we want to sign players? Yes. is that a challenge ongoing? Yes.
“Is is likely we sign anyone before the end of the window? No. I don’t think so.
“But do I believe in the squad we’ve got? Yes.”
As regards the struggle to bring players in, Dyche admits there are a lot of factors at play: “It starts with ourselves, the chairman and the board decide what we can do, but there has to be alignment – there’s no point bringing in players for the sake of it, they’ve got to add value to the team or future value.
“Some players we’ve brought in in the past have been development-style players.
“But we’re not that club now, we’ve moved on. I think we should consider ourselves to have enough clout to start looking at players who are more game ready.
“I’m not remotely saying we should be looking at the same players as the top six, but when you look at the outlays of the Brightons and Sheffield Uniteds, I think there’s a moment in time when you think ‘where are we really at?’ We’re in very good financial shape, how much do we intend on putting in?”
There was a question as to how the pandemic would affect the transfer market, but it appeared to make little difference in the Premier League, as Dyche noted: "The financial implications are for some it seems and not for others.
"When you look at some of the fees being paid for players there is still a lot going round.
"Money has always been an issue here, it has always been something that is highly debated from myself and the chairman and the board.
"Inevitably they make the decisions and I have made that clear for a long time now.
"I have talked about stretch and how we can stretch the model, we are in very good shape financially I know that.
"But the finance is still there to safeguard the club and that is one of the paramount concerns of the chairman and the board so I have always worked within the parameters and the guidelines of what is given to be and that is what I intend to do."
So Burnley will look to secure their first points of the new season at the fourth attempt at West Brom on Monday evening, and Dyche is happy to get on with things without the distraction of the window: "People do forget that we have some very good players here.
"Do we want to freshen it or bring players in, or would I, yes I would.
"You need to know what is available to do that, both players and finance which is always a bit tricky here.
"But I don't forget the group that I have got and the quality and depth of experience particularly, not always numbers, that I have got here.
"I certainly believe this group is more than capable and now it is about showing that on the pitch and getting results."
And it was important the club kept hold of their crown jewels, in James Tarkowski, Dwight McNeil and Nick Pope, who were all linked with big money moves away - with the club turning down bids up to £30m for Tarkowski.
Dyche said: "I did say it was unlikely they were going anywhere, so that is the different kind of strength we have got as a club, the strength to say no.
"There have been years in the past where we couldn't do that but we can now so that is important to us.
"The next stage is how much is available to go and help strengthen the situation and that is always a big conversation.
"There is never any givens here. I have never had a budget so it is tricky, when you don't have a budget it is tricky to imagine how much is there and how much is not there so we will see."