Sean Dyche points to impact of Steven Defour as prime example for new Burnley signing Maxwel Cornet to follow

The signing of Maxwel Cornet from Lyon is one that has excited the Burnley supporters.

Friday, 3rd September 2021, 7:00 am
Steven Defour

Much of that is the anticipation about what the Ivory Coast international, who has good European experience, will bring to the team and whether his ability will translate to goals and assists in the Premier League.

In that sense, he is an unknown quantity, despite his pedigree.

The last such signing from abroad was that of Steven Defour from Anderlecht five years ago.

And while it took time for the Belgium international midfielder to adapt to Burnley and Sean Dyche' s methods, he certainly 'got it' by the time a knee injury cruelly robbed the Clarets of his class in January 2018, with the side on course to a seventh-place finish, and Europa League football.

Dyche and the club have been criticised for not shopping overseas more often, and though injury eventually curtailed Defour's impact, fans will hope to see Cornet similarly buy into what the team is about.

Dyche points to the example of Defour, that showed such a signing could work at Burnley: "Steven was very interesting, a very bright football man.

"I like him a lot, I think he's quite a travelled player, he was a captain very young, played under a lot of pressure at times, played for the national side - he knew what he wanted, and he said he had a fantastic time here.

"He was quite into the education of the game and found a way of working here, as he described it, to win without the ball, and he never knew that because he was brought up a different way.

"Once he bought into it, he enjoyed that side of the game and how it improved him as a player, so I did share that with him.

"Words are what they are, actions change everything, and it took him a while until he really got hold of it, and once he did...unfortunately a knee injury cost him.

"At that stage he was so hardy to his belief in what we were doing, he was actually playing on with a lump of cartilage floating around his knee, and he hadn't even bothered about it.

"Then his calf, etc etc.

"When I spoke to him, I shared my view of what it was, shared the realities, and it took him a while, but he came and spoke to me about it and said 'I get what you said, everything was right. Originally I didn't get it, but I do.'

"Sometimes it can take time."

Time is not something Burnley have always had, preferring to bring in players who know the league, or certainly English football, but Dyche added: "Stephen was fantastic, his mentality towards it.

"He was a bit of a slow burner, but once he gripped it, he really gripped it and bought into it, and probably one of the things I've most been disappointed in was an injury to him, because I thought he was a fantastic player and a very football-educated fella, and unfortunately the injury cost him in the end. A very, very good player.

"I don't really worry about what people consider my thoughts in that respect, but people do forget about Steven Defour, a Belgian coming here and, apart from an injury, was a top player for the club.

"He still speaks to me, he reaches out now and again, he's doing a bit over there, his thoughts lead into others, what he's learned. I like him a lot, he's a good-minded fella and I have a lot of respect for him."

Dyche has yet to meet Cornet, who is currently with the Ivory Coast for their opening World Cup qualifiers.

Chairman Alan Pace did a good job in terms of selling the club and their ambition, but Dyche has a good record in that respect, convincing Defour to sign, as well as the famous omelette, that he joked got the Joey Barton deal over the line in 2015!

Dyche said: "You usually get to the place where the club is allowing you to talk, certainly that's how we try and do our business here, that's the way it should be done.

"That's usually when the clubs have agreed, and they've agreed to let you talk to the player, then, of course you do so, and that can sometimes be the thing that might just edge it over the line for you.

"Often it's financial, but there still is that moment where players speak to you and get a feel for you.

"Usually it comes down to the contract that's offered, depending on the enormity of that contract against others."

Burnley can't always win through in financial situations, but have the draw of Premier League football, a state of the art training facility, and the fact that a couple of good seasons with the club can lead to bigger and better things, as it did with Danny Ings, Kieran Trippier, Michael Keane and more.

Dyche added: "If it's a marginal situation about one club or another, then all the things you mention can be important, and sometimes agents want players to come here for the reasons you mention, they see a pathway here, how they could play here, develop and move on, that does carry some kind of strength in the market with players and agents, who see the bigger picture.

"Other players and agents want to come in and hit the ground running with a very good contract and look after themselves that way.

"There's not really a right and wrong, you have to be open-minded to what the market brings you."