“It’s not an easy situation, but I don’t remember an easy situation here" - Sean Dyche on the lack of transfers at Burnley

When you are faced with your star striker exiting the building on the eve of a season, nothing much surprises Burnley boss Sean Dyche any more.
Charlie AustinCharlie Austin
Charlie Austin

But he admits it is a "tricky way of working", to balance trying to retain the club's Premier League status, with a squad which is now absolutely threadbare.

Back in 2013, Charlie Austin was sold to QPR two days before the big kick-off, and, remarkably, Dyche delivered promotion to the top flight ahead of the Rs, despite only having two real striking options and two recognised central midfielders.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Burnley have since spent five seasons in the Premier League and are about to embark upon a sixth, but despite the financial rewards of that success, Dyche has no budget, and has so far been unable to bring in a single outfield signing in the transfer window.

It is a funny way to reward the club's most successful manager since Harry Potts.

Having lost Jeff Hendrick, Aaron Lennon, Joe Hart and Adam Legzdins from last season's squad, only keeper Will Norris has been brought in, despite Ashley Barnes having not kicked a ball since New Year's Day, while Ben Mee and Jack Cork have been out since the end of June.

Throw in an injury to Johann Berg Gudmundsson early on in Thursday night's Carabao Cup win over Sheffield United, and Dyche's squad is wafer-thin, supplemented by young prospects from the Academy.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Dyche has aired his frustrations, but is battling on with things at present, and, ahead of the first Premier League game of the season at Leicester City, said: “It’s not an easy situation, but I don’t remember an easy situation here.

"We had one season where we did a bit of business quickly and that was because we were in the Europa League and we had to.

“It’s tricky ground and it’s hard to navigate a way through, but that’s what we have to do. We have to look for the players we can get and take it forward if we can.

“The market for Burnley, I’ve never been over confident, I can assure you. You wait and hope and you wait and see what the chairman and the board will do.

“It’s a tricky way of working, a delicate way of working.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Other clubs have different models. I have to accept that and I have done for the eight years I’ve been here.

“Ours is often last minute.com, sell first, buy second. That’s the way the club is. lastminute.com started with Charlie Austin when he was sold two days before the start of the season.”

Dyche had spoken out about the failure to secure Hendrick on a new contract, in particular, and he admits the current situation was on the cards as well: “I thought there was a chance because I don’t think we were overly positive when we came out of lockdown with signing players, and contracts and the like.

“I thought this might be a tough period and it’s proved to be so.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“The chairman and the board are in control of that side of things.

“My advice is important, but I don’t think it’s rocket science for anyone who knows Burnley Football Club, we are short of numbers.

"That was the case after lockdown, it’s still the case now and the injuries we’ve got are not helpful.

“We have some very good players here, but I think they do need support as a group. We do need more depth.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Gudmundsson's injury isn't as bad as first feared, but Dyche is down to two fit senior central midfielders, two wingers and, if James Tarkowski shrugs off a toe injury and the club manage to ward off serious interest from West Ham, two fit senior centre backs.

He can put out a solid first XI, but beyond that, it gets more difficult: "I think there is a balance to every situation. We will do feel we have the players who can fill in and still make us a team but it is getting stretched to the limit again.

"Coming back out of the lockdown period we weren't expecting to have these injuries again.

"We were very hopeful Ben Mee would be fit, we were very hopeful Barnesy would be fit and he is not.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"And then you have Johann so there are three senior players there missing with injury.

"Once they get fit then we will look more rounded.

"The thing is if you lose two or three in our world then it looks radically different. Other squads might still have 18-20 who look pretty good to me and we have that more diluted look pretty quickly.

"If we can get players in that we think will be effective then we will do and if we have to get one urgently then we will have to look at it.

"We will see what the next couple of weeks brings before the window shuts."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In November, technical director Mike Rigg comes up to two years since his appointment, but recruitment of senior players has proved difficult.

Since then, only Peter Crouch, Jay Rodriguez, Erik Pieters, Bailey Peacock-Farrell, Josh Brownhill and Norris have come in.

But Dyche feels great strides have been made behind the scenes, with financial resources the issue: "Whatever system you put in place, eventually it comes down to finance.

"You can only get so many players for nothing or kids out of Academies or people from lower leagues or whatever it may be.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"There are only so many of those talents around who we feel can grow into what we do here.

"Eventually you do need funds, it is the way football is now.

"The recruitment system I think has improved enormously on what we had before, the structure and organisation of it.

"But eventually it still needs finance, especially in the Premier League."