Why Burnley have struck gold with a new deal for Ashley Barnes
The 30-year-old has made a total of 189 appearances for the Clarets in all competitions so far, scoring 41 goals in the process, with his tally of 36 goals in 146 Premier League appearances making him the club’s record scorer in the top-flight.
The Bath-born centre-forward netted 12 times in the league over the course of the 2018-19 campaign to register his best-ever tally in a top-flight season and he looks well on course for another prolific campaign this time around, having already bagged 4 goals in 10 Premier League appearances.
The former Brighton man guided the Clarets to a 3-0 victory over Southampton on the opening day back in August and followed it up with strikes against Arsenal and Wolves in the next couple of fixtures.
Barnes has failed to find the net in any of his last seven league outings but he continues to be one of the key cogs in the club’s engine.
Barnes rose to prominence with Plymouth Argyle and had loan stints at Oxford United, Eastbourne Borough, Torquay United, Salisbury City and Brighton before completing a permanent transfer to the Seagulls in 2010 on a back of a successful loan stint.
The 30-year-old went on to accumulate 53 goals and 22 assists in 170 appearances for Brighton in all competitions, guiding the Seagulls to a promotion-winning campaign in League One before carving out a reputation for himself as a bonafide goalscorer in the Championship.
Four prolific seasons on the south coast earned him a move to Burnley in 2014 and Barnes has played his part perfectly in two promotion drives under Sean Dyche, who has transformed the Clarets into a competent mid-table side in the Premier League over the last few years.
To put things into perspective, Ashley Barnes has been at the centre of a lot of good things that Burnley have achieved under the stewardship of Dyche and the 30-year-old pledging his future at Turf Moor should come as a piece of welcome news to the fans in Lancashire.
A lot of players start declining around the age of 30 but Barnes has defied his advancing years to progress by leaps and bounds, establishing himself as a prolific centre-forward in the Premier League, proving to be a late bloomer.
Burnley are not known for playing an attractive brand of football under Dyche but the 30-year-old has proven himself to be a tailor-made fit for the manager’s philosophy.
Barnes’ incredible aerial ability, which is backed up by his average of 3.6 aerial duels per game as per Whoscored, makes him an indispensable asset to the manager’s old-school style of play.
The 30-year-old has formed a formidable pairing with Chris Wood up top and Burnley would probably have found themselves in relegation trouble more often than not had it not been for Barnes’ uncanny ability to convert half-chances, largely from crosses delivered into the box.
Besides his deadly finishing from inside the penalty area (each of his 12 goals in the Premier League last season came from inside the box), Barnes has proven himself to be a big asset to the team with his tireless running and work rate off the ball, which are attributes that have helped him settle down really well under Dyche.
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Still only 30, Ashley Barnes has got a lot to offer at the highest level and it is not difficult to see why his new contract comes as a massive boost for Burnley, who can now look forward to enjoying his services for the foreseeable future.
Suffice to say, Barnes still has a big role to play if Burnley are to push on for greater heights in the years to come and the Clarets have, indeed, struck gold by tying his down to fresh terms.