Date:Sunday December 18 2011
Will Clarets fans be looking forward or not to the January transfer window which will soon be upon us in the New Year? This could be an opportunity to push for promotion by supplementing the squad with the club just five points away from the play-offs spots.
On the other hand though, the alarm bells are already ringing that we could expect to lose key players. Will the money we get from the sale of key players, supplement the new players expected to come in, or will we increase our squad numbers. quality and chance of promotion come what may?
How do you make sense of it all, this half-yearly shindig every season? Well Sky Sports no doubt will be having orgasms about the potential transfers no matter what effect it has on the clubs.
In terms of player sales, what is quite clear is that we seem to have returned to being a selling club again following the statements recently by Barry Kilby and Brendan Flood. In a rather negative message to fans, almost preparing the fans for the worst, Barry Kilby had this to say at the recent AGM:
"Players in general aren`t assets that are on your books forever. They are a depreciating asset, and they can just walk away for nothing. If you don`t realise the value of a player and they just walk out of the door eventually and wouldn`t be serving the club well,
"You can`t stop them going either."
The club therefore has not ruled out selling players despite the Clarets aiming to strengthen in January. The club announced losses of £4million in the last financial year which considering we had a season in the top flight recently seems a disappointing outcome after being assured by the Chairman at the time of promotion we would now be secure for ten years and would no longer need to sell players.
The club, with the FIFA Fair Play ruling just around the corner are still making attempts to drive the wage bill down from the £17.1million recorded in 2010/11. They look hell-bent on doing this no matter what effect that may have on our promotion chances this season.
Promotion would mean far greater financial rewards. The Premier League unfortunately guarantees this sort of success in terms of gates and TV revenues etc but do we really want to experience all that again without enough investment put into the quality of players we need to stay up?
The Premier League is bad enough to compete in but what about the Championship?
Operational director, Brendan Flood re-elected to the Board at the AGM also admitted the club continued to face challenges in an ever-competitive league, noting that since 2006 to the end of the 2009/10 season the average squad wage for the Championship had trebled.
"Eddie and his team have a massive task because, here at Burnley, we are always trying to out-perform with lower wage costs,
"It`s a very competitive league.
"In 2006 the average squad wage bill was £5million and we were just below that.
"The season ending 2009/10 the average squad wage bill was £15m.
"While financial fair play will bring in a more belt and braces approach for us we have got to be extra clever with how we buy and how we sell.
"It`s about employing the best possible people we can get."
"Eddie and his team are excellent. If you (the supporters) can give him the support from the terraces I`m sure he can be successful.
"We do understand our limitations, but we want to do our best for you."
The big question of course is who will leave in January and the obvious answers appear to be Jay Rodriguez and Andre Amougou but perhaps others are also being earmarked by Premier League clubs and more ambitious Championship rivals. We have to sit back and enjoy yet another window roller-coaster ride before we find out.
In the meantime who are we being linked with? Well so far it would appear to be up-and-coming talent, somewhat unproven at Championship level to be honest and therefore cheaper and not a resource strain on the salary cap.
Two we have been linked recently include Sheffield United defender-cum-midfielder, Matt Lowton and Manchester United midfielder Darron Gibson (on loan)
Matt Lowton is regarded as one of the best young prospects outside the Premier League and to be fair he did impress in the Championship last term for the Blades despite their relegation to League 1.
The 22-year-old made a name for himself in United`s first-team squad in the 2010/11 campaign, making 32 appearances for the club in total.
He can play in the back four and in midfield and so far this season has been an ever-present for the Blades also getting on the score-sheet. Although it is rumoured some Premier League clubs have Lowton on the radar, both Cardiff and Burnley could be prepared to go in for him in the January window.
Darron Gibson(pictured above)on the other hand is reported to be a loan target for three Championship clubs including the Clarets who could face tough competition from both Derby County and Bristol City. The 24 year old Manchester United midfielder is already a Republic of Ireland international and has played 30 games for the Red Devils scoring four goals. He has been out on loan twice during his career at Old Trafford. His first spell was at Royal Antwerp in 2006/7 and his second for Wolves playing for them for most of the 2007/8 season. He managed to score one goal too but sadly that was against the Clarets in December 2007!
Although looking a potential prospect, he has suffered from injury and some think it could be a gamble to take on an injury-prone player. Gibson suffered damage to his ankle ligaments in August this year and has made just one appearance for United this season and that was recently in the surprise 2-1 defeat by Crystal Palace in the Carling Cup quarter-final back in November.
It is difficult to know how much truth there might be in these rumours but I would think they are not particularly strong links. However, like everything else transfer rumour related we shall just have to see what happens in January! Oh what fun! Bring it on!
Date:Sunday December 18 2011
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