Stanislas Wings In as Elliott Sadly Wades Out!
It was a frustrating and in the end disappointing day for Clarets fans as this summer`s transfer window finally came to a close at 11pm last night. Eddie Howe had whetted the appetite of Clarets fans by suggesting that we could be bringing in 2-3 players to boost a somewhat depleted squad. We were already down to the bare bones having lost three key players to long-term injuries and having embarked on a summer clearout to reduce both the average age of the squad whilst at the same time getting rid of the high-salary earners. Three of our key players, Chris Eagles, Tyrone Mears and Danny Fox also additionally left Turf Moor to realise their ambitions elsewhere.
This left Eddie Howe saying earlier this week:
'We`re so thin on the ground body wise. Our squad (on Saturday) is what it is.
'Those are the 16 players who are fit, so we do need some new additions, we do need to add a little more depth.'
In answer to the question about bringing in some new faces before the window closes he said:
'Hopefully because we do need to add a couple.'
Unfortunately in the end we finished up worse off!
Nothing was happening on the Burnley transfer front in terms of announcements for most of the day and then finally in the late evening it was confirmed that we had signed one of our targets, 21 year old winger, Junior Stanislas from West Ham on a three-year deal. How much did we sign him for? Well, yes you guessed it! Another player arrives at Turf Moor for an undisclosed fee! Are they embarrassed or something? Are they scared we might do the maths and realise all the monies in for transfers out is far greater than the total for players in? Oh well, let`s be positive at least the exciting under England Under 21 international has arrived to become our 7th signing of the summer if you count the two loans and a third-string goalkeeper. He now joins his team mate from West Ham, Zavon Hines and there was some good news about Hines too yesterday. The two clubs have agreed a fee for the striker without having to go to a tribunal. So what was the fee? Yes, you have guessed it, undisclosed!!
Burnley fans at this stage following the good news about Stanislas were now hoping there would be some more last minute additions especially in defence. Ryan Shotton from Stoke had been a strong target according to reports and with Michael Duff facing 4-6 weeks off with a knee injury and both Clarke Carlisle and Leon Cort now out on season-long loans, it seemed crucial to bring in a central defender to boost the back four. In the end there was no movement at all and we can only surmise that the Shotton deal fell through probably because Stoke realised the long-throw expert was crucial to their plans with Delap now getting somewhat long in the tooth. Shotton had begun to make inroads into the Stoke first team recently both in the Premier League and Europa Cup. There is however still a chance in the loan market to do something about our dire situation in defence and there was some talk that West Brom former Rochdale defender, Craig Dawson could be a contingency option if we failed to sign Shotton.
With the clock ticking down, Burnley fans were also keeping a nervous eye on possible players leaving the club. It was a pretty nervous time for Clarets fans when Sky Sports had announced earlier in the day that Southampton were increasing their bid for Jay Rodriguez. £4.5 million had already been turned down by the club with a 'Not for Sale` sign slapped on the player although we all knew everybody including Jay Rod would have their price, particularly at Burnley! The question was would Southampton pay that price and would our clubs promotion chances take a severe nose dive? In the end, thankfully not with Rodriguez remaining a Clarets player at least until the January window opens in the New Year. It would appear that Southampton only made a derisory offer of £5 million with most fans believing a value of £6-8 million might have been enough for him to be sold; a sale which probably would have led to disgust and uproar at Turf Moor.
In typical true Burnley fashion though, the club still had to let us down when it was announced with minutes to go until the window closed that Wembley hero, Wade Elliott would be leaving Turf Moor after agreeing a two year deal with Birmingham. How much did we let him go for? Yep, you guessed it! Undisclosed! The 32 year old had seemed unhappy recently and over the weekend had been linked with a move to Nottingham Forest. The club in the form of media manager, Daz Bentley had apparently reassured fans via Twitter that there was no truth in the rumour and so it would prove. He simply signed for Birmingham instead. It is the end of an era. Wade had been six years at the club and of course will always be remembered for that winning Wembley goal; the one that saw the club promoted to the Premier League for the first time in its history! Of course, in isolation you could say, we had seen his best years but at 32, we have lost yet another experienced player and in effect have simply replaced one winger with another.
The only other transfer news regarding the Clarets related to a deal for 18 year old Burnley defender, Dean Overson. He moved to Bradford in a two year deal. Dean, son of Vince Overson who is in charge of our Centre of Excellence, had completed his two year scholarship last season but had been retained for further assessment following a lay-off with a broken ankle.
So that was it! Not the day I suspect most Clarets fans were hoping for and certainly one for me at least that was very, very disappointing. I just don`t understand what this club is trying to achieve but they have certainly achieved their target of reducing salaries and reducing the age of the squad. It was an average age of 24 when Brian Jensen returned in goal on Saturday. If you take the Beast and now Elliott out of the equation, we are even younger. But is that the right policy and do we now have enough experience, let alone enough players? We have to hope that Howe against all the odds can somehow get this team in the top six by Christmas but it doesn`t look like that will be easy to do especially if we suffer any more injuries or pick up suspensions.
Eddie Howe has also certainly virtually built his own team with all the players apart from Jensen now virtually younger than him! It remains a team in transition and one developing but I just fear this is the wrong time to be doing this and that we have the balance wrong. I think the bottom line taking away all the club hype and positive spin has been to do just one thing. Get the salaries down! I just hope that is not a big gamble and that we don`t struggle for survival this season. A demotion under our financial plight just isn`t worth thinking about. The Board in my opinion will now live or die on the decisions they have made this summer. I just hope they have this right, I really, really do!