A Top Half Finish? – Three Players Who Could Turn Burnley Into ‘Top-10’ Contenders
Burnley, despite early promises, had a nervy conclusion to their return campaign in English top tier, as they managed to skip another relegation scare after managing a 16h placed league finish with 40 points, only 6 points clear of the drop zone. Also, they lost their key centre-back Michael Keane to league rivals Everton and their budget constraint has annoyed boss Sean Dyche despite adding a few names to his undervalued outfit.
They have recruited former Stoke City right-back Phil Bardsley and attacker Jon Walters to add experience. Also, highly-rated young left-back Charlie Taylor has joined them on a Bosman move from Championship heavyweights Leeds United. Jack Cork has been snapped up from Swansea City to strengthen their midfield, yet the Lancashire outfit requires a few more resources who can add values in a few vulnerable slots.
Here are three such names who are supposed to be key contributors in Sean Dyche’s ‘top ten’ aspirations.
Current Club: Manchester United
The England international has served the Red Devils for the past 7 seasons since his move from Fulham. Smalling, however, became a fringe player last year under new United boss Jose Mourinho due to injuries and inconsistency. Also, the arrival of Victor Lindelof has further jeopardised his future at Old Trafford and Manchester United seem ready to offload him this summer. The likes of West Ham United, Crystal Palace are already in contention to land the Premier League veteran. Burnley, too, should try to acquire him, as he will be a quality replacement of Michael Keane, to pair up with Ben Mee in the Burnley back-line.
Current Club: Middlesbrough
The Spanish youth international has been unfortunate to be a part of two back to back relegated squads (Aston Villa and Middlesbrough), since his arrival in English football. The former Barcelona prodigy, however, has been impressive, with his pace, power and strong dribbling skills. But his talent has to be nurtured in the right way and Chelsea, the Premier League champions, along with a few other outfits showed serious interest in him following a few stellar performances last season.
Burnley boss Sean Dyche prefers to play with two forwards up front, thus the necessity of an outright winger has not been as much as other areas due to his usual 4-4-2 formation. But all other teams in the league bank on the wide players and Dyche must consider the young Spaniard as a part of his ‘Plan B’ in case he needs to switch formations in the forthcoming season.
Current Club: Leicester City
The 23-year old Welsh international caught the eyes of manager Chris Coleman and was handed his senior debut a couple of years back. Lawrence, the former Manchester United academy graduate, had a few successful loan spells in the Championship including an imposing 2016-17 season with Ipswich Town where he netted 11 times in 36 appearances across all competitions.
Following an impressive preseason, Lawrence has been a subject of interest of several second tier outfits including Derby County who had a £7m bid rejected by the Foxes a couple of days back. Burnley need a midfield attacker who can link up with the likes of Sam Vokes, Andre Gray and Ashley Barnes up front. Lawrence should serve the purpose and improve the Clarets with his creativity in the longer run.