Clarets’ overseas scouting network will take time

Steven Defour
Steven Defour
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Clarets boss Sean Dyche accepts it could be some time before Burnley’s overseas scouting network begins to bear fruit.

Burnley have usually, during Dyche’s tenure, landed players from domestic leagues, regardless of nationality, as the club develop their knowledge in Europe and beyond.

Belgian Jelle Vossen and German Rouwen Hennings both arrived in the summer of 2015, but failed to make an impact.

Steven Defour joined from Anderlecht 12 months later, and the Belgian international has shown his class in the Premier League - but he is the last player signed from overseas.

Czech Republic international Matej Vydra joined this summer, but has been in England since 2012, with spells at Watford, West Bromwich Albion, Reading and Derby County.

Dyche explained Burnley’s thought process on spending their money abroad: “I can call youth coaches who have had players we’ve got here, so there’s a lot of background to be done. Others less so.

“I always give Steven Defour as an example, he had 46 caps for Belgium, in one of the golden eras for Belgian football, therefore he has to have a bit. He was captain at a young age, played against an arch-rival when they had posters saying we’re going to cut your head off. If you can handle that you’re a tough character, so that’s a bit of common sense.

“But if you’re about layers and layers of scouting, we’re not there – it could be a few years before we are.

“It takes investment as well, the club has to adjust to the levels of investment is correct.”

And he added: “Whatever investment you put into scouting, there’s no guarantees anything will come out of it.

“It’s not an easy thing to do.

“We all know clubs who have put a lot of money into that and haven’t got it right by a long, long way.

“The other big thing at Burnley Football Club is they don’t want to make mistakes.

“This club wants to hedge it’s bets on financial safety rather than £10m in France, £10m in Belgium and £10m in Holland and let’s hope they work.

“This club doesn’t want to do that because they haven’t got the finance, or the club don’t want to put the finance into it, whichever way you want to look at it.”

Meanwhile, the potential impact of Brexit is of little concern to Dyche.

It is claimed a quarter of players in the Premier League would not get work permits if players from the EU were treated the same as non-EU players – although some cases would get through via the Football Association’s Exceptions Panel.

Dyche said: “I have no concern over it, I’ve no problem where players come from, but we haven’t got the depth of scouting that everyone else has.

“If you’re Tottenham, they’ve been layering scouting across that for years, if you think we’re going to beat them to the best players in Europe, we’re not, so I apply commonsense to it.

“If we haven’t got that depth, and knowledge, but we have on a British player, that’s just business practice.

“If the laws change, we’ll just work with it.”