Damp Squib Nearly Fireworks on Deadline Day
Well transfer window deadline days come and go and at 6pm on Tuesday this week, this summer's window closed confirming it was a quiet day for Burnley FC. No last minute signings or surprises just rumblings about a few players who may have gone or who may have come.
The club seem content with the signings they made earlier on in the transfer window and are now looking at the loan market situation which opens this week. Premier League clubs have now announced their 25 men squads, so those not making the grade could now well be seeking loans away from their clubs to keep themselves match fit and competitive. The new Premier League rule required clubs to name a squad of 25 senior players by 5pm on Wednesday 1 September, with only players under the age of 21 being allowed to supplement the named squads from now until January 2011.
Brian Laws now believes there could be some bargains to be had from the leftovers and said after the window deadline closed last week:
'All Premier League clubs have now had to announce their 25-man squad so we'll be observing those.
'There could be some real gems available out there.'
He also said in relation to the lack of business on transfer deadline day:
"People might be wondering why we`ve not done any business, but we`ve got a good squad of players and we did our business early.
"We struck while the iron was hot and we feel we`ve done good business.
"We aren`t in a panic situation where you end up paying more than you should do.
"We`re pleased with what we`ve already done."
Clarets fans have been debating whether they believe that point of view or not with many still believing we should have strengthened in key areas having seen our opening few games of the season. The general impression seems to be we have still not been able to fire on all cylinders despite picking up points and it would appear the defeat at Swansea before the international break set the alarm bells off for some Clarets fans. Chris Iwelumo too was also injured in that game and it had been though Laws might be tempted to bring in a new striker as cover in the last few days remaining before the transfer window closed on Tuesday. Speculation broke last week that David Nugent could be a candidate to return to Turf Moor in a permanent deal. Former Clarets gaffer, Steve Cotterill now manager of course at Portsmouth had apparently offered to sell Nugent in a player-exchange deal although it is not clear which player he had in mind. Brian Laws confirmed an approach had been made but said:
"Portsmouth made an offer to us but we weren`t prepared to do a swap with our current players, plus the finance would have been big for us in terms of wages, and we weren`t prepared to go down that avenue"
I would accept the player argument but continue to be perplexed by statements related to wages and finance. We have gone down stronger, so could someone please tell me why another Championship side, Portsmouth, a club in dire straits financially can afford to hold onto Nugent and pay his salary and we can`t? Still pleading poverty are we? I could perhaps understand if we had made a high-profile signing and brought in another striker before the window closed but we did not do that either and seem to be using the loan market coming up soon as our excuse for not doing so. Well let`s see who we bring in before casting final judgement but I have to confess to being disappointed that we have not brought in any high-profile 'Wow` signings to date despite the parachute payments and the £7 million we got for the sale of Steven Fletcher to Wolves. Loan signings are fine but again they perpetuate the feeling that the club just can`t seem to break this habit of appearing to be tight-fisted by not getting their man sooner rather than later on a permanent deal. Jack Cork is a classic example. £2 million could have secured his signing permanently from Chelsea if you believe the media gossip. Surely we know he is capable of doing a job for us in the Championship, let alone the Premier league should we get there again so why do we pussyfoot around with a loan and run the risk his price could increase over the season? Fair enough if the loan contract gives us first refusal on a permanent deal and the price is fixed at £2 million but if not have we been too frugal again giving the chance for other clubs with greater financial muscle to poach him from us come Summer 2011?
The business we have done over the Summer has been good and solid so don`t get me wrong but will it be enough and will we still be in contention for automatic promotion (or at the very least the play-offs) come January? The performances so far don`t give you that much optimism but nor do they give you much pessimism either so we shall have to see.
One of the advantages of 'going down stronger` we were told was that we no longer have to sell players and although that wobbled a bit when a few weeks later Fletcher was packing his bags for Wolverhampton at least we have held on to both Eagles and Mears. These were two players most Clarets, including myself thought would soon be seen playing in the Premier League with a top flight club this season. Chris Eagles of course eventually signed a new two-year deal despite overtures from both Old Firm SPL clubs. Tyrone Mears is also still on the books and will be now at least until the January 2011 transfer window. He has looked a bit sulky though recently and he has clearly not yet reached the form that only last season had some punters predicting he could be a future England right back. Is Mears unhappy that no Premier League clubs have come in for him? It would appear nobody showed any interest in him unless the club dug their heals in claiming their 'we don`t have to sell` mantra. What is clear is that we can`t afford to carry any passengers so Mears needs to quickly buck up his ideas and confirm he still has the heart to play for the Clarets.
One story that did come to light concerned a late bid by Turkish club, Galatasaray for Andre Bikey. It is understood the Turkish giants made an offer of over £2 million for the central defender. The club should at least be applauded for this one. They could have made a tidy profit on Bikey who joined Burnley FC from Reading for £1 million (plus add ons) just over 12 months ago. Had they sold him, the usual 'good business` mantra would have been echoed from the club`s rafters but well done for not doing the business! Bikey has been a revelation this season and has been a rock in our central defence. It is good for a change to see the club putting ambition over financial return.
'We took a phone call but at the end of the day Andre is an important part of our team and we weren't interested in selling the player,' Laws told the club's official website.
'We are not a football club that is going to hide things and I think it's important that everybody realises we want to keep our best players.
'Andre has had a fantastic start to the season and with him in the defence you feel assured and if we want to get out of this division then we need players like him.'
Later on in the week, news also broke that the club had also turned down a loan bid from an SPL club for one of our fringe players. The player was not named but it was thought it was one with previous experience of playing North of the Border. The Scottish transfer window closed later on Tuesday than in England at 12 midnight and it is thought the bid came in between the two deadlines.
We can only speculate who the player with Scottish connections may have been. Easton, MacDonald, McDonald, Rodriguez? We may never know but the club valued the fringe player enough to want to hold onto him.
One player we were linked with was young Manchester United striker Federico Macheda supposedly on loan but Laws said:
"I don`t know where that came from."
Clarets fans might be interested to note tough that Macheda has not been named in United's Premier League squad so could he still be one of Laws loan targets for this week?
So that was it really, nothing for Clarets fans to shout about on transfer deadline day although it would appear there was more action going on behind the scenes than we first thought.
There has certainly been criticism from some of the fans that we have not done enough in the 2010 Summer Transfer Window so much so that Brian Laws, on the Official Site has felt the need to restate that the club does indeed have ambition and that he has been perfectly happy with the signings he has made. We all have to hope that is true because we won`t be in a position to regret anything if we are not strongly placed by the time the next window opens in January 2011.