Burnley’s new head of European recruitment Ian Butterworth hopes to help the club mine the continental market for bargains.
The Clarets have largely looked to Britain and Ireland under boss Sean Dyche, while the club’s success rate with players from abroad hasn’t been high over the years.
If you’re going to compete at the top level, you’ve got to look in EuropeIan Butterworth
Invariably, when Burnley have looked outside the British Isles, signings have not been hugely successful for one reason or another – the likes of Remco van der Schaaf, Besart Berisha, Diego Penny, Fernando Guerrero, Dimi Papadopoulos, Dane Richards and Marco Gentile spring immediately to mind.
But the Norwich City legend, who spent over three years as chief scout at Queens Park Rangers, and scouted opponents for England coaches Stuart Pearce, Sven Goran Eriksson and Roy Hodgson, feels it is imperative the club look further afield, with the premium for British talent constantly rising.
Butterworth said to the Eastern Daily Press: “Every signing is a gamble whether you’re paying £80m or £1m.
“You just don’t know how players are going to react in a new environment.
“If you’re going to compete at the top level, you’ve got to look in Europe.
“You can’t ignore that any more.
“Obviously you need to do your due diligence a little bit more because you’ve got to make sure they are what they are, and they’re a good fit for your team and environment.”
Butterworth arrives with an impressive CV and contacts book, and added: “I’ve travelled extensively around Europe and England, I know where players are, I’ve mixed with directors of football, presidents, owners, I’ve got a lot of connections in the game.
“I’ve had other opportunities but this one came up and I just fancied a change, so I’ve taken it.
“Burnley are a good, solid club with a very good manager in Sean Dyche, and he’s done really well. He gets the best out of his players and they are a club progressing very slowly but surely.
“They’ve got a brand new training ground they’ve been in for only two months.
“They’ve got good people behind the scenes – local businessmen who have done good. And they don’t make too many bad decisions it seems.
“They want to branch out into Europe and get some players because those in England, it’s ridiculous the market values that you’re paying for.
“Burnley are trying to establish themselves in the Premier League and to do that, you’ve got to be at it every year, spend the right amount of money, have good leadership. They are trying to progress and here I am.”