Why Burnley shouldn’t have handed Peter Crouch his Premier League return
Burnley have signed Stoke City striker and Premier League legend Peter Crouch on a loan deal for the rest of this season. In that deal, the Clarets frontman Sam Vokes goes to the other side and will be playing for the Potters.
Despite all his experience in the league, Sean Dyche’s men in no way should have accepted the former Tottenham striker. The 6’7” target man has spent the better part of the last eight years at the Bet 365 stadium, and with him struggling to find the net in the Championship this season, it looks like Stoke City were ready to move on anyway.
However, while his experience does make him a good target for Burnley, the 38-year-old won’t be the right fit for the Clarets, considering his age and lack of pace. Crouch has played just over 461 games in the Premier League scoring 106 goals and is one of only 26 players to ever hit that mark in the Premier League.
In spite of all that and the 38-year-old’s ability to tower over his opponents, any replacement for Sam Vokes should be someone younger than 30 years old.
Burnley has been linked with a move for Birmingham City striker Che Adams according to the Daily Echo, but the move didn’t materialize.
Vokes, on the other hand, has also struggled for goals this season, scoring just 4 in 28 appearances, with his last goal coming nearly in the last week of November. It is probably one of the main reasons why Dyche allowed to let the Welshman go.
The Clarets need a bonafide goal-scorer, but in no way is Peter Crouch their man, as the former Liverpool, Southampton and even Portsmouth striker has struggled to hit double figures during his time in the Premier League. The 38-year-old has only done that on three separate occasions in the Premier League, finishing his last five seasons with five, seven, zero, eight and seven goals.
It not only shows Peter Crouch’s inevitable decline but at the same time, but also epitomises how the 38-year-old isn’t the man to save Burnley’s blushes. However, now with the deal going through and the striker arriving at the club, Dyche needs to make sure that his playing time is managed well and he is used when the need is a must.
Aston Villa’s defence would become one of the strongest by signing this underrated 33-year-old Premier League star
Aston Villa Opinion: Why the Villans should make a move for Tom Heaton?
Heaton, 33, who has just 12 months remaining on his Burnley deal, impressed after reclaiming his first-team spot last season, earning a call-up to Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the Nations League finals.
Sean Dyche is keen to reward Heaton with fresh terms after his impressive performances in the second half of last campaign, but both parties have been unable to come to an agreement thus far, leaving the goalkeeper’s future in doubt. Nick Pope penning a new long-term deal at Turf Moor could play a part in Heaton not agreeing on a new contract.
Aston Villa and Bournemouth are in need of a new goalkeeper, but it’s the latter that should sign Tom Heaton from Burnley.
The Villans have not wasted much time in making their presence felt in the summer transfer window. Having already signed four players, Dean Smith remains hungry for more and interest in Heaton means he isn’t confident with his goalkeeping department ahead of the Premier League season.
Orjan Nyland was Villa’s no.1 when Smith replaced Steve Bruce at Villa Park. To compete with Nyland, the Villans signed Lovre Kalinic from Belgian outfit Gent in January. However, Nyland’s injury saw Smith recall Jed Steer, who was on loan at Charlton Athletic.
Kalinic quickly replaced the injured Nyland but his time in goal was brief as he was replaced by Steer in February. Whilst the Croatian lost his place because of a concussion he suffered against West Brom, Steer starred between the sticks and played a crucial role in Villa’s promotion. Now, Steer has signed a new four-year contract with the newly-promoted club.
As far as Kalinic is concerned, his Villa career has not really got out of the starting blocks and it would perhaps be something of a relief for Dean Smith if he was able to offload the towering Croat, with French outlet 20 minutes claiming Nantes are interested in a loan swoop for the shot-stopper.
If Smith decides to part ways with Kalinic after only six months, then that would leave him with Steer and the currently injured Orland as Villa’s two senior-goalkeeping options.
That won’t be enough for a team heading into the Premier League in 2019/20 and therefore, signing Heaton would make complete sense.
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The 33-year-old is a reliable shot-stopper with plenty of Premier League experience and Villa would do well by having such an experienced goalkeeper on their books. Heaton is unlikely to cost a lot because of his contract situation and if Smith can promise him regular first-team football, signing the England international won’t be much of a problem.
A calming influence and a leader on the pitch and off it, Heaton would be a brilliant addition for Smith’s Aston Villa.
Burnley would bag a massive signing for the future by taking a punt on this versatile 20-year-old available for free
Burnley Opinion: Clarets should look at Bolton prodigy Harry Brockbank as one for the future
According to Lancashire Telegraph, Burnley have been credited with an interest in out-of-contract Bolton Wanderers youngster Harry Brockbank, with reports claiming that the Clarets are keen to take the 20-year-old emerging prospect to Turf Moor as one for the future.
A youth product of Bolton, Brockbank made a solitary appearance on his loan spell at Salford City in the National League last season before breaking into the first-team at his boyhood club.
The 20-year-old made 3 appearances for Bolton Wanderers towards the end of a troubled season in the Championship which eventually ended in relegation to League One. Lancashire Telegraph understands that the Trotters are under dire financial stress at the moment and a takeover is set to be finalised in the weeks to come.
Bolton’s new owners will be under pressure to act quickly in order to secure the future of some of the talented youngsters at the club, including the likes of Harry Brockbank and Luca Connell, with the latter also attracting interest from Burnley, Celtic and a host of other Premier League clubs. (h/t Lancashire Telegraph)
Brockbank made his senior first-team for Bolton as a starter in a 2-0 home defeat at the hands of Aston Villa in the Championship back in April.
The 20-year-old showed strong signs of promise on his debut, despite Bolton crumbling to a defeat. That was enough for manager Phil Parkinson to hand the defender another start in the next game against Blackburn, which also ended in a 2-0 defeat for the Trotters.
The homegrown prodigy made yet another start in a 1-0 defeat away at Nottingham Forest in the final game of the campaign and capped off his breakthrough season with another impressive performance.
One would expect the 20-year-old to play a more significant role for the Trotters in League One next term, although a move to the Premier League certainly doesn’t seem beyond the realms of possibility, with Burnley weighing up a move for him.
Regarded as a fine young player with loads of potential, Brockbank is noted for his versatility to play in multiple positions across the backline. The 20-year-old featured as a right-back for Bolton in the Championship this past season but he is also capable of playing as a central defender and as a holding midfielder.
To put things into perspective, Burnley have always prioritised signing homegrown domestic players in the transfer window and the Clarets’ links to the promising 20-year-old Bolton prodigy shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to the fans at Turf Moor.
Sean Dyche always favours bringing in players who have honed their skills in English football and Brockbank certainly fits the bill.
Burnley already have a strong defensive unit and it looks unlikely that the 20-year-old would go on to play a significant role in the Premier League for the Clarets next term. In all probability, he would initially go into the U-23 side, where it will be up to him to prove his worth and break into the first-team in the years to come.
If a move does materialize, Burnley might as well look to arrange a loan deal for the youngster next season to allow him to further his development with regular first-team exposure. Brockbank only played a handful of games in the Championship last term and he certainly needs a lot more time to be ready for the Premier League.
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All in all, Brockbank is a talented player but he is one for the future, and snapping him up for free could prove to be a piece of smart and risk-free business for the Clarets.
Burnley signing this £3m-rated star related to Romelu Lukaku would be a strong statement of intent
Burnley Opinion: The acquisition of Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo could mark the beginning of a more dynamic recruitment policy at Turf Moor
According to Lancashire Live, Burnley have been credited with an interest in Rapid Wien full-back Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo, with reports claiming that recently-relegated outfit Huddersfield Town are also interested in securing the services of the 23-year-old.
The 23-year-old left-back made a total of 42 appearances for Rapid Wien in all competitions this past season and contributed with 2 goals and 5 assists. Bolingoli-Mbombo also featured in the club’s Europa League campaign, which ended with a defeat against Inter Milan in the Round-of-32 stage.
A youth product of Belgian outfit Clube Brugge, Bolingoli-Mbombo made his first-team debut for his boyhood club in the 2013-14 season before going on to play a more significant role in the subsequent campaigns.
However, the youngster found himself in and out of the first-team due to stiff competition for places and managed only 64 appearances in all competitions over the course of four seasons, scoring on 7 occasions.
The highlight of the 23-year-old’s time at Clube Brugge came in the 2014-15 season of the Europa League, with the left-back scoring a brace against Besiktas in the Round-of-16 to propel his team to the quarter-finals.
Bolingoli-Mbombo featured in the Champions League in the 2016-17 season before leaving his homeland to join Austrian outfit Rapid Wien in 2017.
The left-back made an instant impact in the Austrian top-flight and established himself as one of the mainstays of Wien’s first-team in his debut season. In all competitions till date, Bolingoli-Mbombo has made a total of 73 appearances, scoring thrice and assisting a further 10 in the process.
To put things into perspective, Burnley are currently not crying out for reinforcements at left-back, although the Clarets might consider bringing in a replacement for Stephen Ward, who departed the club on a free transfer upon the expiry of his contract this summer.
Although it is not absolutely necessary for Burnley to sign a new left-back right now, the Clarets’ links with Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo suggests that the club has finally extended its scouting base to hunt for talents outside the country.
Recruiting British-based players has been one of the hallmarks of Burnley’s transfer policy over the years, with Belgian midfielder Steven Defour being one of the very few players to have arrived at Turf Moor from foreign leagues.
Adopting such a stance in the market has worked well for Sean Dyche, who apparently favours investing in youngsters who have honed their skills in English football. That sort of thinking certainly makes sense, given that Burnley haven’t got millions to throw around in the market and bringing in homegrown talents eliminates a lot of risk as well.
Burnley have often shown the inclination to look at proven Premier League quality players in the transfer window, but one cannot help but feel that the Clarets gradually need to spread their scouting network throughout the continent and look for bright emerging talents in the foreign leagues if they are to keep moving in the right direction.
In other words, Burnley need to adopt a more dynamic approach while recruiting new players. While bringing in homegrown players should continue to be a priority, the Clarets should also be open to the idea of playing low-cost gambles on young players who are plying their trade elsewhere in Europe.
That scouting network eventually needs to spread its roots to the other continents as well in due course of time.
Burnley have already got the likes of Robbie Brady and Charlie Taylor to fight it out for the left-back role but someone like Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo, with his pace, trickery and versatility to play as a winger further up the pitch, could add that X-Factor and unpredictability to the club’s ranks.
It is true that Brady is also capable of playing as a winger but that should not put Burnley off in their pursuit of the 23-year-old left-back.
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To sum it up, the acquisition of Bolingoli-Mbombo would be a bold move by Burnley and, maybe, the beginning of a more dynamic recruitment policy at Turf Moor.
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