Gotta Keep a Keeper or Five!
There was lots of gossip and rumours last week regarding potential new goalkeepers with two Australian keepers linked with the club.
Burnley are one of a number of clubs including West Brom, Ipswich and Bristol City who are reportedly interested in signing Sydney-born 20 year old Central Coast Mariners keeper, Mat Ryan. The impressive keeper has already represented his country at Under 23 level and has been called up into the Socceroos first team squad. Already owning a British passport, it is thought £300,000 could be enough for the stopper to be released by the Australian A-League club.
Central Coast Mariners football director Lawrie McKinna r has confirmed that the club are considering a request for the 20-year-old to travel to Turf Moor for a trial during the first two weeks of pre-season:
'We`ve had the request, it`s not an offer as yet and we`re considering it," McKinna said
'Our only big concern is that he hasn`t trained for four weeks, and we want to make sure he`s fit enough to go over."
Ryan has played all his football in his native country to date originally starting his career as a youth with local clubs Plumpton/Oakhurst SC and Blacktown City before joining A-League side the Mariners in 2009.
Burnley have also been linked with another Australian keeper, 17 year old, Daniel Nizic.
Nizic had a spell on trial with Portsmouth last term, but Pompey were suddenly under a transfer embargo and unable to sign him after the club entered administration for the second time in as many years. It has been reported that the young gun might now move northwards instead. Although a move to Burnley has yet to be finalised the former Sydney FC player is believed to have opted to join the Clarets according to local reports in the Lancashire Telegraph.
The interest in another two keepers is bound to fuel speculation concerning the future of the Beast and Jon Stewart at the club. Both have been offered new deals but to date they have not been accepted by either keeper.
Brian Jensen who is currently our longest-serving player at the club was offered a testimonial year and new terms at the end of last season but it remains to be seen if he stays and plays his tenth season with the Clarets. It is thought the new deal would involve a reduced package and that this could be the sticking point.
Eddie Howe said recently:
"We hope to come to agreement with Brian.
"He has been such a fantastic servant to the football club for such a long time.
"He is still a very good goalkeeper and a big personality.
"He is someone we have enjoyed working with and we would like to keep him."
The gaffer went on to say:
"Things have dragged on throughout the summer, through no fault of Brian`s.
"It`s been a tough one for us because despite the transfer fee we got for Jay (Rodriguez) we have to be very careful with the money we spend.
"I know Brian wants to stay and we are desperate for him to stay, so hopefully we can come to an agreement."
One keeper who is probably happy not to be embroiled in all this activity is Lee Grant. Grant who is now recognised as our number one stopper is the only one of our current keepers still under contract.
Should we succeed in our attempts to keep both Jensen and Stewart on the books and bring in the two new Aussie keepers that would mean we would have five professional goalkeepers in the squad! Well that would certainly keep the position competitive but surely we don`t need that many do we? It suggests to me we are keeping our powder dry in case deals cannot be reached with Jensen and Stewart. It is difficult to know if the links with the Australian keepers if they are true are simply contingency plan should we lose one or both of the keepers offered new deals or whether we really intend to have so many keepers on the books.
Clarets fans have mixed feelings about both our current recognised keepers with many unconvinced that Jensen or Grant are good enough in terms of consistency. Our third-string keeper, Jon Stewart has played so few games for the Clarets it is difficult to form an opinion. It looks though like Grant is the only one who will definitely stay since he is still under contract but it will be interesting to see who will be pushing him for the number one spot next season.