Sean Dyche's thoughts on tapping the European market for talent

In the past, you could dismiss most speculation linking Burnley with players from the continent.

By Chris Boden
Saturday, 22nd January 2022, 12:30 pm
Maxwel Cornet
Maxwel Cornet

The club just did not do their shopping in Europe, with the previous ownership preferring to take the risk out of transfers, looking at players who already played their football in England.

Steven Defour was a rare venture abroad in 2016, but he was a part of Belgium's golden generation, with a half century of caps for his country.

But Burnley are now spreading their net further, buoyed by the success of Maxwel Cornet, and as they look to add to their squad in the remainder of the transfer window, they have a firm interest in Lens' Ivory Coast midfielder Seko Fofana, as well as Dinamo Zagreb's left-winger Mislav Orsic, and Zenit St Petersburg's Iranian frontman Sardar Azmoun.

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However successful the club are on that front in the remaining few days, or not, they are more open-minded to exploring that avenue than before, with, often, more value to be had than in the domestic market.

Sean Dyche has been eager to build Burnley's scouting network for some time, and, with owners ALK Capital more open to stretching the finances and taking a risk in the market, the squad could take on more of a League of Nations feel.

Dyche said, on the scouting network: "The eyes on players and physically watching players has been generally better.

"We back that up with the analysis, backed up by the years of following a player sometimes – Maxwel had been on the system for a while.

"We had been following him for a while and you just need to get to a situation where the alignment works for the player, the clubs and the fees.

"There is plenty going on behind the scenes to try and get the right players but it is still a work in progress, it probably always is."

Burnley had their most successful transfer window for some time in the summer, bringing in Cornet, Nathan Collins and Connor Roberts, as well as Wayne Hennessey and Aaron Lennon, and Dyche added: "There has been investment in that.

"I think the belief in the risk and reward scenario has changed, there is more of an open-minded approach as regards the risk of the finance for a foreign player, coming into Burnley and getting used to the environment.

"There is more open mindedness from the new ownership, I think I have always been quite open minded about that as well.

"In many ways the outgoing board wanted more of a safe bet feel, because they wanted the finances to be safer.

"When the new ownership came in, we had already put years into more scouting, and scouting in Europe, so at least we have some data, some background and some physical markers, like the players being two or three years older, so they may have been playing enough now where we deem them in a position to be ready.

"We have been putting things in place for a long period to be ready."

But having taken a Premier League record fee for an over 30 player, in Newcastle triggering Chris Wood's £25m release clause, clubs know Burnley have cash for a forward: "It is just the reality of the market, you get some money for a player and everyone thinks you have money, and so the numbers change.

"That’s life. I don’t get too bogged down with it."