Last season, Burnley were tipped for a campaign of struggle in the lower reaches of the Championship. This time around, they are back in the top flight after just a few years of absence.
While some people will hate to admit it, the Clarets now have to be classed as one of the elite clubs in the country. We’re not by any means suggesting that they can be put in the same group as the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea, but it’s clear following their recent success that they are extremely well-run and thoroughly deserve another shot at the big time.
However, even though what the club has achieved is admirable, the bookies aren’t shifting with their approach. In their eyes, they are firm favourites for the drop, with the general price being 4/7 for relegation.
What happened last season?
There was never any doubt that the Clarets were badly managed last term; after all, they were guided by Sean Dyche who had already performed superbly well with Watford before being harshly dismissed. Instead, most people thought that their budget was just too small for them to be serious contenders for promotion. Each week passed, and the doubts remained, but the club held on and finished the campaign in 2nd place.
It was a miraculous achievement for a side who were tipped to perform so averagely. Their team isn’t filled with “big name” stars, but Dyche crafted a squad who worked hard and worked well together. The question is, will such an approach prove to be successful in the top flight?
Has it been a busy summer?
If Dyche is to be believed, he has made no fewer than 500 phone calls through the course of the summer. Despite their success last year, Burnley know that they need new faces to even contemplate surviving at this level.
Having brought seven in, they have at least managed to boost up the numbers. Whether or not all of them hold the required quality remains to be seen though. Fans will be happy to see the return of Michael Kightly from Stoke following a successful loan move last year, while elsewhere Dyche opted to splash the cash on Lukas Jutkiewicz. Of course, when we talk about these big money moves, it’s worth noting that the Clarets only paid £1.5m for the striker which highlights just what they are up against.
In other news, Matthew Taylor and Steven Reid both hold Premier League experience which will be crucial at this level, while the other purchases came in the ofrm of Marvin Sordell and Matt Gilks from Bolton and Blackpool respectively. As such, it’s clear to see that the squad will rely heavily on the men who got them up last year – which is a high risk approach.
In terms of outgoings, it won’t be a surprise to hear that all of the players departing left on the clubs terms. A total of seven players left Turf Moor although pleasingly for Sean Dyche, he was able to retain the services of last season’s top scorer Danny Ings which was impressive considering the cloud of interest around him. At this point it’s probably worth mentioning that the 22-year-old notched 26 goals last term and such a source of attacking prowess will undoubtedly prove crucial in the Premier League.
What’s the prediction?
Burnley are a side that we have huge respect for; they didn’t buy their way out of the Championship, they did it the “right” way. However, it’s for this reason that everyone thinks they will struggle and unfortunately, we agree.
Sean Dyche has proved to be one of the most talented young managers in the country, but his budget means that his hands are tied well and truly behind his back. The Clarets do have some good existing players, with Ings and Kieran Trippier being two prime examples, but their transfer activity suggests that it will be a long, hard campaign and we can’t predict anything other than relegation.