With the January transfer window well underway, Burnley fans will be hoping that there is to be plenty of business done at Turf Moor this month as they are in serious danger of dropping out of the Premier League. Sean Dyche has worked miracles at the club over the years, but as the division has evolved through coaching, tactics and players, the Clarets have been left behind.
It is harsh to compare the Lancashire outfit to those who have wealthy owners and the resources to not have to worry about the thought of relegation, but not enough is done to help take this historic club to the next level. American owners ALK Capital did treat supporters in the summer with the club-record signing of Ivory Coast international Maxwel Cornet for around £15million, but one player is not enough to spearhead an evolution.
The versatile Cornet has been the only shining light for Burnley this term, scoring six out of the Clarets’ 16 league goals, meaning 37.5% of the sides have come precisely from him – so of course there is great cause for concern over their Premier League status this year.
With striker Chris Wood not reaching the form he has in recent seasons, and his usual strike partner Ashley Barnes sidelined, Cornet has effectively played as a second striker for Burnley in most games this season and he has essentially carried the team’s entire attacking burden by himself.
Wood is Burnley’s second-highest scorer with three and then behind him is defender Ben Mee with two. This alone tells you the reason why the Clarets are floundering this year and Dyche will be concerned as we reach the midway point of the campaign. He will be hoping that business can be done this month to help steer his side away from danger, especially with the lack of goals and catalysts in the side.
Another key factor that may see the board forced to dip into the transfer market is the fact that star man Cornet will miss January as he travels to the African Cup of Nations. This will provide Dyche with several concerns for the upcoming fixtures in which his top scorer is absent and unless new bodies are brought in, his hands are tied.
Right now, it feels as though everything is pointing toward Burnley’s time having come. They have done extremely well to stay up in past seasons with the resources they had, not to mention that one season where they finished in the top 10. The miracles Dyche has worked at Turf Moor can never be overstated.
It has always been wondered about how the boss would do given the finances to build a squad to his complete satisfaction. But as it has been for the entirety of his tenure, it just won’t happen at Burnley. Largely, it hasn’t mattered because of the excellent results and performances he has been able to get out of the players he has. However, as already mentioned, with the evolution the Premier League as a whole has had in recent years, it’s becoming increasingly likely that clubs like Burnley cannot think to survive through their current methods.
Not to mention their fixture list for the second half of the season. They still have to face all of the current top six sides again, on top of three postponed fixtures which have to be slotted into the calendar at some point. One of those matches has been scheduled for Tuesday 18th January, which is a relegation six-pointer against fellow strugglers Watford at home – the importance of this fixture cannot be overstated. They also have to face the Hornets again later in the season, along with fellow bottom three sides Newcastle United and Norwich City. Burnley’s fate is in their hands but with no wins in their last seven league matches, it is going to be a gargantuan task.
This month is vital for the Clarets and it could define their season. Yet, from what we have seen so far, it seems as though their time has come and that relegation is extremely likely for them come May.
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