Four Keepers and a Midfield/Striker Funeral?
Bizarrely the only signings Burnley have made so far in the close season have all been in one position! Yes, we have brought in four keepers! Yes, four keepers! Well OK three are actually replacements after both Brian Jensen and third-string keeper, Jon Stewart was released and Lee Grant decided to leave and sign for his former club, Derby County. So in came Tom Heaton, Alex Cisak and Nick Liversedge and that you thought might have been that in terms of stoppers! However this week a fourth arrived in the shape of 18 year old Daniel Nizic. The former Sydney FC goalkeeper had a trial at Turf Moor last season and impressed enough to earn a two-year contract (subject to international clearance) this week despite having three keepers already on board!
Goalkeeping coach Billy Mercer explained:
"Daniel has been on our radar but his parents have done a great job, along with (Burnley CEO) Lee Hoos, in getting his visa sorted and he is here for the long haul as one for the future.
"It has been a big turnaround for us this summer, with Lee (Grant) going off to Derby, Brian (Jensen) leaving after 10 years and things not working out for Jon (Stewart).
"With experienced goalkeepers leaving it was important that we got replacements, not only for the next couple of years but hopefully beyond that.
"We now have two 24-year-olds, a 27-year-old and Daniel. Luckily we`ve got all of our targets and we`re delighted to formally welcome them all to the club."
So then with quite a few outfield players also having left or believed to be leaving can we expect a surge of activity to replace them in the remaining time that the window is open?
At the moment only the defence seems sorted provided we can hold onto Kieran Trippier who continues to be linked with a move to a Premier League club from time-to-time. The rumours so far though do not appear to have been that strong and the only transfer activity in the back four has been the permanent signing of Joseph Mills following his loan spell last season from Reading. That signing though was more contractual and it is believed he could be allowed to leave or go out on loan in the season ahead.
The areas we need to concentrate on are the midfield and strike force. In midfield, Chris McCann has already departed and left Turf Moor this week for Wigan to be reunited with former Burnley gaffer, Owen Coyle. However rumours also suggest that three other midfielders could be about to leave the club providing replacements can be found. Burnley are considering buying Keith Treacy out of his contract and both Marvin Bartley and Brian Stock could be free to leave according to the Lancashire Telegraph. The local paper also suggests Sean Dyche is weighing up two new potential midfield signings both of them free transfers. One of these could be former Blackburn Rovers youngster Jaden Hall. He is now available on a free transfer after completing a one-year professional deal at Stoke City. Hall had a trail at Turf Moor 12 months ago and has also been spotted at Gawthorpe on trial at the start of this summer`s pre-season training.
Could such inexperience be a suitable replacement for the likes of Marvin Bartley and Brian Stock? Bartley is in the last year of his three-and-a-half year contract so no doubt the club is keen to cash-in rather than risk losing him on a free. Leyton Orient are reportedly interested in signing him but he looks unlikely to leave until midfield cover is brought in. 31-year-old, Brian Stock was told at the end of last season that the club would be prepared to listen to offers for him. There have been some rumours linking him with a return to his first club Bournemouth but these are thought to be wide of the mark according to the local media.
Midfield then is increasingly looking like a worry, with more potentially going out than coming in and possible replacements so far looking like they will be young and inexperienced brought in on the cheap.
Now we come to the real area of concern, our strike force! Martin Paterson has already left to join Huddersfield and it looks like it will only be a matter of time before Charlie Austin also leaves the club. The club in the driving seat for Austin appears to be Premier League new boys, Hull City. There are local Humberside media reports today that Hull have come in with an improved offer this week, believed to be in excess of £4m with suggestions that this is a 'take it or leave it` offer which will not be pushed higher. They seem to be putting all their efforts now behind signing Austin after being rebuked in their attempt to sign Celtic forward Gary Hooper. Burnley will now have to mull over the improved offer but it is unlikely to be anywhere near his true worth estimated to be about £7 million. If Hull get the 'knock-back` again there will still be other interested clubs who appear to have Austin on their 'wish-list` some of them quite ambitious looking Championship rivals including Nottingham Forest. Premier League, Stoke City were also linked with Austin this week but it is understood new manager Mark Hughes has not registered an interest in the striker.
Burnley joint-chairman John Banaszkiewicz said this week:
"There are a number of clubs interested in Charlie, but we`ve not agreed anything with anyone at this stage.
"There is nothing finalised at our side.
"We have had communication with a number of clubs, but we`re still some way away from agreeing anything.
"It had been very quiet on him up to a week ago, but interest is picking up now."
He also revealed that the club made further moves to try and keep him at the club, as he enters the final year of his contract:
"We`re trying our best to keep him and have offered him a very good contract - he`s a terrific goalscorer and we`ve tried to see the best deal the club can offer him. It might not be enough to keep him, but we`ll see."
Well that is at least something but unlikely to succeed if a Premier League club starts waving the dosh about!
One little bit of good news in these depressing, pleading-poverty again times, is that we appear to have stuck two fingers up to Eddie Howe and Bournemouth following their attempts to sign forward, Danny Ings. The newly promoted Championship side made a £1 million offer for their former striker and were immediately knocked by the Clarets. Local media reports this week in the Lancashire Telegraph suggest Bournemouth weighed up an improved bid but realised they did not have enough money to in the bank to continue their interest. It would appear Howe`s interest in boosting his strike force has now turned elsewhere with reports that free agent Simeon Jackson could be on his radar following his release from Norwich.
Sadly though at the moment, there is little positive news linking the Clarets with high-profile, experienced midfielders or strikers unless they are past their best and likely to be cheap! All the news is about players leaving the club unless the intention is to have a back eight with four keepers in goal! At this rate we might need it!! How do you feel about the lack of transfer activity? Will it all come good before the new season kicks off or do you have grave doubts about our chances or even survival in the Championship? There is certainly a lot of concern being voiced elsewhere on Twitter and other Burnley forums but what do you think? Discuss beneath this article.