The long-overdue Burnley takeover was finally finalized on Thursday, providing happy news to Burnley fans who were frustrated by their club's lack of transfer spending this year.
The biggest question is whether the Clarets will stray from their current transfer model: buying players playing in England, often from the Championship, for low fees and molding them into dependable Premier League starters (or better).
Goalkeeper Nick Pope joined from Charlton for just under $1.5 million in 2016 while James Tarkowski was brought in from Brentford a season earlier for just $4.4 million. Both are now English internationals. Ashley Barnes has been at the club even longer, as the striker was procured from Brighton in 2014 for just $600,000 and has been a consistent goal scorer for the club.
The last player the club purchased from a foreign league was Steven Defour, who was brought in from Belgian club Anderlecht in 2016. The club has just four players in the squad not born in the British Isles, but even then all four were purchased from English clubs.
Even for a notoriously stingy club like Burnley, its summer transfer spending was meager. Burnley's sole purchase was veteran midfielder Dale Stephens from Brighton for just $1.21 million. The Englishman has just five appearances and has not made a first-team start in two months.
The club's performance on the pitch has suffered, although a recent run of good form has canceled out a seven-match winless run to begin the campaign, leaving the Clarets in 16th place.
Despite these struggles, it seems the Burnley consortium appreciates Sean Dyche's approach and will continue to maintain the club's identity.
"We are very prepared to support Sean and the management team," said Alan Pace, the head of Burnley's new ownership group. "We need time to get in and understand what their needs are, what we're planning for and what the decisions were that they've taken so far and where they desire to go, but we are fully prepared to back the manager. We wouldn't do anything that's not on a long-term basis, this is not a short, buy-to-flip, opportunity."
Sounds like business as usual in Lancashire.
But that doesn't mean the new owners won't be spending money; they'll just be spending responsibly, the Burnley way. Here are some players the club should consider purchasing to bolster the squad during the January transfer window.
Burnley Transfer Targets
Ivan Toney (ST), Brentford
Transfermarkt Value: $11 million
Last season, Toney was the leading scorer in League One; now he holds the same honor in the championship. Could the Premier League be next? He joined from Peterborough for $6.16 million just four months ago, another bargain for promotion hopeful Brentford. Burnley will likely have to overpay to get Toney given his status at Brentford, but he is built in the mold of Danny Ings and would be the perfect foil for physical strikers Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes. Toney could be the perfect signing for a Burnley side that is starving for goals.
They said Brentford would struggle to score goals without Ollie Watkins and Said Benrahma.Then Ivan Toney comes along and scores 11 in his first 13 games...
— Sporting Life Football (@SportingLifeFC) November 25, 2020
Tyler Roberts (ST), Leeds
Transfermarkt Value: $3.96 million
The third-oldest side in the Premier League needs an injection of youth, and Roberts would be an ideal option. The Welshman is a promising striker who is well-versed in all facets of the game. He is comfortable playing with his back to goal, holding up the ball and allowing his team to play off him. He has yet to score in eight league appearances for Leeds but is a smart investment for the future.
Conor Hourihane (CM), Aston Villa
Transfermarkt Value: $6.6 million
Hourihane has been the victim of Aston Villa's extensive Premier League overhaul, making just four appearances in the league this season. The 29-year-old Irishman is a solid box-to-box midfielder who also is adept at taking set pieces. With 24 caps for Ireland, Hourihane brings international quality and experience at a bargain price.
— FAIreland (@FAIreland) March 27, 2019
Callum Styles (CDM), Barnsley
Transfermarkt Value: $1.76 million
Just 20 years old, Styles was the first player born in the 2000s to play in the Football League back with Bury in 2016. Since then Styles has amassed 83 appearances in the English League pyramid and has developed into a stout defensive midfielder. He is a proficient tackler who also reads play exceptionally well. He still needs to become more polished on the offensive end, but he fits the mold of a Sean Dyche center midfielder.
Marc Albrighton (RM/LM) Leicester City
Transfermarkt Value: $5.5 million
A veteran winger who doesn't start regularly for his club, is a strong crosser and has a solid defensive work rate? That's the Sean Dyche dream right there. Albrighton hasn't scored since Boxing Day 2018, but he's one of those guys who just does all the little things that help a team win. With Robbie Brady struggling, Albrighton would be a perfect fit across from the industrious Dwight McNeil.
Solly March (LM), Brighton
Transfermarkt Value; $9.9 million
Burnley is so thin in the midfield that U-23 center mid Josh Benson has been playing as a right mid for the Clarets. March is a productive wing who brings a splash of creativity to the side while also contributing on defense (a must when playing for Sean Dyche). While not a goal scorer, March can provide quality service to Burnley's strike force, something the side has sorely lacked this season.
Jake Cooper (CB), Millwall
Transfermarkt Value: $4.4 million
While Burnley has a sturdy backline, the Clarets have very little defensive depth. Record signing Ben Gibson ($18.59 million) has been a major disappointment and is currently on loan at Norwich, leaving mediocre Kevin Long as the club's third-choice center half. Cooper is a no-nonsense defender who would fit in perfectly with Burnley's back four. He is the Championship's top-rated center back this season (per WhoScored) and has been one the division's most-consistent performers in recent years.
Dael Fry (CB), Middlesbrough
Transfermarkt Value: $7.15 million
Standing 6-3 and winning every aerial ball in sight, Fry is a no-nonsense defender who would fit perfectly in the Burnley backline. And at 23, he would be four years younger than any of the backline regulars for Burnley, the perfect position for him to be their center back of the future.
Connor Roberts (RB/RM), Swansea City
Transfermarkt Value: $4.4 million
A solid player who can play in defense or midfield, Robert's flexibility would make him an important role player in this Burnley squad. Roberts has been a steady performer for Swansea for the past three seasons at the Championship level and would provide Burnley with more of the depth they lack.