What Vincent Kompany needs to immediately address at Burnley

New Burnley boss Vincent Kompany has already spoken of taking the good things he has found at the club and trying to take that to the “next level”.

By Chris Boden
Wednesday, 15th June 2022, 9:50 am

And he believes “that after a difficult start will come an incredible future.”

But what are the challenges facing the former Manchester City captain, after leaving his forst mamagerial role at Anderlecht boss to become Sean Dyche’s successor at Turf Moor?

The very fact he is replacing Dyche means there are huge shoes to fill, given the legacy he leaves, on and off the pitch, enjoying seven seasons out of eight in the Premier League, with two top 10 finishes and a return to European football after half a century.

Anderlecht's head coach Vincent Kompany pictured during a press conference of Belgian soccer team RSC Anderlecht in Brussels on, Friday 06 May 2022, to discuss the next game in the Champions' play-offs, of the Jupiler Pro League. BELGA PHOTO LAURIE DIEFFEMBACQ (Photo by LAURIE DIEFFEMBACQ / BELGA MAG / Belga via AFP) (Photo by LAURIE DIEFFEMBACQ/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

Throw in the state of the art training facility at Gawthorpe, which you can imagine will have been a huge draw for Kompany, and Dyche will be a tough act to follow.

But, while the end of Dyche’s reign showed things were going stale, Kompany feels he can build on what he has inherited, to use a Dyche buzzword, the “framework” for success.

He has already picked up on a big feature of the club left behind by Dyche, the culture. It was always one of respect, of hard work, of honesty. Legs, Hearts and Minds.

As Kompany said: “You can kind of pick the core of the things you really appreciate about the club so far, which is the culture, how honest people can be, how warm and friendly people can be to each other, and then you add something that you think is a detail that will take all of this good stuff already to the next level.”

He clearly gets it, already.

What he will look to change, certainly, is the brand of football.

Dyche insisted he was not a zealot to styles, and had no set philosophy – his “nirvana” was of the mixed football so effectively employed by Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United sides, particularly in their treble-winning season of 1998-99.

But Kompany arrives hugely influenced by his time under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, and, as Kjell Doms, who covers Kompany’s former club Anderlecht for HLN in Belgium, says: "He wants his team to never abandon the beautiful game. Building up from the back, so he needs central defenders and a goalkeeper with good feet.”

That will be a big shift away from Dyche’s preference of getting the ball forward early, but more akin to the way the side played in. the final eight games of the season under interim boss Mike Jackson, when the side enjoyed more possession and made more short passes.

It’s fair to say a number of the Burnley support will welcome a move away from a more pragmatic style, regardless of the success enjoyed under Dyche, with the last couple of years,even with mitigating circumstances of a lack of support in the transfer market, a tough watch at times.

Will that style be geared towards the hustle and bustle of the Championship however? Well, a number of sides have shown that you can certainly football your way out of this division, particularly of late.

Much has been made of Kompany needing to ‘rebuild’ the squad, and that is true to an extent. Fourteen professionals have left as their contracts expire, but while captain Ben Mee and James Tarkowski will clearly leave a huge void, the skipper only made 21 Premier League appearances last season, with Nathan Collins very much the present and future, himself making 19 appearances.

Aaron Lennon, Phil Bardsley and Erik Pieters were important squad players, but realistically things needed freshening up earlier than this.

The remainder of the released players boasted a handful of fleeting appearances between them.

It remains to be seen whether Jack Cork can come to an agreement with the club over his deal, as with the injured Matej Vydra, but Kompany will know he needs to bolster the squad in terms of depth, and hopefully look to add a number of players better than already on the books.

There has also been talk of a ‘player exodus’.

Again, that remains to be seen, the scale of which. No one would begrudge Nick Pope a Premier League move, especially in a World Cup year, but you would like to think he would command a sizeable fee in the current market, and he remains young for a goalkeeper.

And while his distribution improved under Jackson, would Pope fit into Kompany’s way of playing out from the back?

Maxwel Cornet has a release clause of £17.5m, and again, if anyone is willing to pay that, good luck to him. He provided most of the rare moments of quality we saw from Burnley last season in forward areas, and hasn’t mumped and moaned since relegation about wanting to leave.

Which brings us to Wout Weghorst, who has said he will not be playing in the Championship, but is open to returning at a later date? Good luck winning over the Burnley fans if he thinks that is the case. And if Turkey is his destination, is that league a step up from the Championship? It’s debatable.

Dwight McNeil has also been linked with a move, but after his first real ‘blip’ in a Burnley shirt, enduring a difficult season, it is hard to say whether any interested parties come in for him at this juncture. At last check, all was quiet on that front, but there is plenty of time to go before the transfer window closes obviously.

So Kompany will need clarity on those fronts, and already has in mind players he wants, with him having the club working on deals before his official announcement.

Manchester City’s England Under 21 captain Taylor Harwiood-Bellis is a likely option, and his possible arrival would make for a solid-looking defensive unit, with the current goalkeeping options, Charlie Taylor, Collins, Kevin Long, Connor Roberts and Matt Lowton.

Kompany’s contacts will be important, with his links to City, while he has already been linked with a number of his players at Anderlecht and from the Belgian Belgian First Division A.

At Anderlecht, he had Christian Kouamé on loan from Fiorentina, and borrowed Joshua Zirkzee from Bayern Munich, so his filofax – if they remain a thing – is clearly full of phone numbers!

His backroom staff will also be important, having people around who he knows and trusts. He is yet to formally announce his team, but he could be reunited with set piece coach and video analyst Eliot Tybebo, personal assistant Rodyse Munienge, coach Floribert Ngalula and physical coach Bram Geers, who were all close to the head coach in Brussels.

Craig Bellamy is also expected to link up again with Kompany, having worked with him as a player at City, and as his assistant at Anderlecht. Bellamy’s stature, and knowledge of the Championship could prove important.