Premier League football is not only lauded for its competitiveness but also the incredible stories it writes every year. This time, it has to be Burnley, who have sensationally made it to Europe beyond everyone’s guesstimate.
Sean Dyche had plenty of limitations at Turf Moor but his dedication, hard work and love for football guided the minnows to a European force following a 7th-placed league finish, therefore, making it to the second qualifying round of Europa League football.
The Lancashire outfit finished 16th last season in their return to Premier League but witnessed a massive upsurge this term despite budget constraints, which forced them to build up a squad of Premier League rejects and Championship regulars.
Burnley have made some shrewd transfer business in recent windows and the players they brought in have been magnificent in their respective roles. Dyche has gradually increased the depth too but needs to strengthen a few positions in order to be prepared for the European challenge.
There will be multiple esteemed forces alongside Premier League counterparts Chelsea and Arsenal, who are also participating in Europa League next term. Having already exhibited their character and determination, the Clarets must concentrate on making it to the top-6 next season.
Burnley might be raided in the summer, with defensive ace James Tarkowski being a man in demand. Ben Mee, his central defensive partner, is yet to pen a new deal and that has fuelled speculations of a summer move as his contract is set to expire next year.
Dyche must hence look for defensive reinforcements and should try signing West Brom centre-back Craig Dawson, who could prefer a return to the top-tier after being relegated to Championship.
Veteran Northern Irishman Jonny Evans is available for a fee as low as £3m upon his relegation with the Baggies but the former Manchester United defender should be keen on a greater move, having previously been monitored by Manchester City and Arsenal.
The Clarets, meanwhile, have quite a few quality forwards in the form of Chris Wood, Ashley Barnes and Sam Vokes but lack enough options in wide roles.
Johann Berg Gudmundsson and Aaron Lennon do not have proper backups as Scott Arfield has left for Rangers. Georges-Kévin N’Koudou has returned to Spurs following an unsuccessful loan spell whereas Jonathan Walters and Nahki Wells failed to impress the gaffer to make it to the first-team.
Dyche, therefore, will need attacking reinforcements who will operate from the flanks and the availability of both Xherdan Shaqiri and Andre Ayew following their relegations with Stoke City and Swansea City respectively must excite the Burnley boss.
Manchester City prospect Patrick Roberts is being monitored by multiple Premier League outfits following a successful loan spell at Celtic and the Lancashire outfit must join the race to acquire the prodigious wingman.