Vincent Kompany on a transfer window like no other at Burnley
It has been a transfer window like no other at Burnley Football Club.
After relegation, the oldest squad in the Premier League has been broken up, with Ben Mee, James Tarkowski, Aaron Lennon, Erik Pieters, Phil Bardsley and Dale Stephens leaning at the end of their contracts, while Wout Weghirst has departed on loan, and Nick Pope, Wayne Hennessey, Nathan Collins, Dwight McNeil and Maxwel Cornet have been sold.
Vincent Kompany has spent the last two months or so piecing together a new, younger group with a fraction of the money that has been raised, so far bringing in 11 players to replace the dozen departures, landing Scott Twine, Luke McNally, CJ Egan-Riley, Taylor Harwood-Bellis, Samuel Bastien, Josh Cullen, Ian Maatsen, Aro Muric, Vitinho, Manuel Benson and Nathan Tella.
Kompany has mined all manner of seams when it comes to recruitment, players he knows from Manchester City, from Anderlecht, players he came up against in Belgium, and those he and the scouting network handpicked.
It has been the biggest turnover of players since 1987 when the club avoided becoming the first to suffer automatic relegation to the Conference by the skin of their teeth.
And Kompany explained the process: “It's all gut feeling! Go for a walk around the mountains and come back and make a decision!
"No, it's becoming more and more of a complex puzzle, you want informed decisions, so you want to be clear on what you want the players to do, and based on that, you kind of know the profiles you're looking for.
"The scouts go out and look actively for those profiles and we've then got to make sure we can afford them.
"Once we know we can afford them, or think we know, we have to make sure we can excite them for our project, make sure they can see themselves here, and it's been successful so far in this transfer window, but there's no such thing as an easy transfer, every one you have to graft for.
"That will remain.”
Data is a growing part of modern day recruitment, and Kompany is happy to have that as another string to his bow: "The way it works, it's more of a cross check, you can have a player coming through in a data-driven way, which is then cross-checked by the scouts and recruitment team before it gets to me, then you could have another player where another coach rings up and says 'have a look at him', and the recruitment will look at him, and we'll cross-check it with the data, but the data is this big word, but it is just finding the criteria that is important to you.
"Then there comes a decision driven by the technical staff.
"It comes through the two parts of the process, either data or recruitment, scouting, eyeballs, and once they are checked off, there is another layer we call senior review, and once we've done that, coaches and scouts know exactly the details, body angles, positioning, types of things we demand tactically, then it comes to me, and sometimes other members of my technical staff.
"That's how we cook in the kitchen!”
And while Kompany would like to add further before September 1, he won’t just making signings just to get bodies into the club: "You try and not compromise on an entire chain of events, and that's difficult, but we've done enough deals to know we can do it, it's about not becoming trigger happy or panicking and to protect the interests of the club always, in the long term as well as the short term."
He walked into the club aware of the financial situation after relegation, and has worked hard to look for potential, but potential that can keel Burnley pushing for a return to the top flight: “There is two dynamics, the now and the future, because every transfer decision is a big decision for the future as well.
"In general you rely on your staff and we have a good recruitment system and coaches who know exactly what we want to bring to the players and in my case I have known nothing different than having to juggle between those two dynamics.lFor me it is paramount that this club becomes again one of the healthiest clubs in England and I want to contribute to that.
"And then to compete on the back of that, and therefore you have to allow some decisions to happen to give some breathing space to the club.
"I think it is too early to call it whether we have done all good business (on signings) but I think you can see there are some players who you can see already look interesting for the future.
"We haven't gone for crazy money, any amounts I have heard it is probably half that that we have really paid. So we are keeping it diligent.
"But as to any player now, any players that are playing right now, there is absolutely no bargains to be made. It is paramount to us competing this season.
"Like every other club says to us when we buy a player, everybody has a place but we don't want to let them go.”