It has been a poor summer for Burnley football club, bordering on embarrassing.
If the club are now Premier League, the recruitment team remains firmly second-tier.
Why haven’t Burnley signed anyone? That’s been the abiding question, yet nobody knows what is going on behind the scenes.
Time and again, manager Sean Dyche has been left frustrated by the boards frugal transfer policy. The Turf Moor hierarchy must loosen the purse strings or risk losing their talented manager to someone who will.
It makes writing this article challenging because nothing is happening. Burnley supporters are bored to tears with how the club has operated since promotion was clinched back in May.
The Clarets transfer strategy has been conservative where is should be progressive, compared to last summer’s activity the club are managing an upward decline. Dyche has said that he wants to spend, yet the board are blocking him.
This is the same board that reported £30.1m profit back in March – and that is the minimum the club should be spending in this window.
To coin a ‘Dychism’, “the market is changing”. The Clarets have to spend to tread water in the top-tier yet they seem afraid to put serious bids in for players.
The club has been promoted at the most profitable time in football history and will receive a windfall of over £100m for doing so, yet the club continues to be prudent.
A shining example of what a calculated spend can reap you comes in the form of Andre Gray, whose record breaking transfer fee now looks like peanuts in today’s market.
I don’t subscribe to the view that the Clarets are weaker going in to this campaign than they finished last season. Time caught up to Michael Duff, who was right to retire, and Joey Barton is not good enough for the Premier League at this stage in his career.
However Barton left on May 24 and at the time of writing, hasn’t been replaced. I fully expect the Clarets to sign Dale Stephen’s from Brighton this week, but the club need a hell of a lot more than that to survive this season.
The pool of players Dyche can aim for is small and have to meet certain criteria. Be better than what is already in the squad, fit into a stringent wage structure and have the right mentality.
It’s a catch 22 as when you start paying the big fees you have match that with wages, which seems to scare the life out of the club.
The signing of Jon Flanagan is a superb one in my opinion. He understands the Premier League and plays with the heart, grit and desire that will turn him into a firm fans favourite – if fit, he has to start at left-back for me on the opening day.
I was on the Turf for the match with Real Sociedad, my only game of pre-season and it was desperately flat. Albeit it was a friendly, but the crowd really needs something to shout about, one or two marquee signings that will inject waves of optimism through the club.
The fans are realists; a splurge of Middlesbrough’s proportions is not on the agenda, however the club must spend the going rate in the right areas to compete.
Burnley cannot again rely on the age old team spirit, underdog mentality and high fitness levels to carry them through. That was the plan last time and the Clarets did not win until November.
There are three weeks left of this window so you would surmise the Clarets will be accelerating attempts to bring in the required quality.
The Swansea City game will see the Clarets look for their first-ever opening day Premier League win; let’s hope its third time lucky!