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Burnley’s leaky defence would receive the ultimate weapon if they sign this ball-playing 33-year-old for free

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Burnley Opinion: Why the Clarets should snap up free agent Gary Cahill?

According to a report from the Daily Mail, Burnley are among the Premier League clubs looking to sign Gary Cahill on a free transfer from Chelsea this summer.

The former England international, 33, has been surplus to requirements at the Stamford Bridge under Maurizio Sarri this season and is set to leave the Blues this summer and link up with another club. He was given a roaring send-off and the players did a lap of honour after coming on as a substitute during Chelsea’s 3-0 win against Watford.

Gary Cahill has played just nine games across all competitions this season after he was frozen out by Sarri. With the 33-year-old set to be available as a free agent, Burnley must not hesitate to snap him up in the summer.

Burnley huffed and puffed to secure their Premier League status this season which clearly tells Sean Dyche needs to spend wisely in the summer to avoid another underwhelming campaign at the Turf Moor. The Clarets were toothless going forward but what surprised many was the team’s lack of defensive shape and discipline this time around.

It’s very unusual for a Sean Dyche team, which conceded 68 goals in the 2018/19 campaign. James Tarkowski and Ben Mee did form a good partnership at Turf Moor, but they often couldn’t stop the ball hitting the back of the net.

Moreover, Tarkowski is wanted by a number of Premier League clubs and Dyche is not yet fully convinced with Ben Gibson, who joined the Clarets from Middlesbrough last summer.

That should make a new defender a priority for Burnley and Cahill could potentially be the answer to Dyche’s defensive problems. The Englishman leaves Chelsea a highly-decorated player, winning two Premier League titles, two FA Cups, the EFL Cup, the Europa League and the Champions League. He is a real leader, who can organise the defence very well and make a difference when the chips are down.

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The former Bolton Wanderers man is also a ball-playing centre-half, something the Clarets lack in their squad.

His positioning is fantastic and his rich experience will come in handy for Dyche’s men next season. Cahill may be 33 and past his prime, but he is still good enough to play Premier League football for at least another season or two.

Verdict

Cahill has been a serial winner at Chelsea and would offer Burnley real experience off the pitch as well. That will definitely add to his value for the Clarets and it is a move that will only serve to improve their defence.

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No Maguire, no problem – Leicester would find his best replacement in this 26-year-old Premier League star

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Leicester City Opinion: James Tarkowski would be the ideal replacement for Harry Maguire

According to Daily Mail, Leicester City have lined up Burnley’s James Tarkowski as a potential replacement for star man Harry Maguire, who is expected to head for the exit door at the King Power Stadium this summer.

Maguire is likely to be a man in demand in the summer transfer window, with Premier League giants Arsenal, Man United, Chelsea and Spurs all interested in securing the services of the £60 million-rated England international. (h/t Sun)

While the 26-year-old’s metaphoric rise in English football is set to trigger a bidding war amongst several top clubs, the Foxes seem almost resigned to losing their No.1 centre-back before the start of the next campaign and have already started planning for life without him.

Manager Brendan Rodgers has requested Maguire to stay at Leicester with a promise that he would help him take his game to greater heights, the Daily Mail understands. However, he is almost certain to leave the club and the Foxes believe James Tarkowski is the perfect man to fill in his boots.

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Tarkowski once again proved his worth as a top-class defender at Burnley this season, with the 26-year-old playing a key role in steering the Clarets to safety in the Premier League following a disappointing start to the campaign.

Along with Ben Mee, Tarkowski was one of the standout performers for Sean Dyche’s side this term and made a total of 35 appearances in the Premier League, scoring on 3 occasions.

The 2-cap England international made his move to Turf Moor from fellow Championship club Brentford back in February 2016 and initially struggled for a place in the first team, with Dyche preferring Michael Keane at centre-back.

Following Keane’s departure to Everton, Tarkowski made the centre-back role his own and established himself as the first-choice last season, helping the Clarets make a return to the European stage after a long absence of 51 years with a string of solid performances at the back.

The 26-year-old has made a total of 103 appearances for Burnley in all competitions till date and also featured in their Europa League campaign last summer which ended prematurely in the qualifying stages.

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To put things into perspective, Tarkowski looks like an ideal like-for-like replacement for Harry Maguire and Leicester City should go all out to sign him if the latter leaves for another club this summer. Both Tarkowski and Maguire are 26 and the Burnley man would probably be Leicester’s best bet to fill in the shoes of their star man.

Standing at 6ft. 1 inch, Tarkowski is a couple of inches shorter than Maguire but that doesn’t prevent him from stamping his authority inside the box with his supreme aerial ability. As a matter of fact, Tarkowski has averaged 4.8 aerial duels per game this season as compared to Maguire’s 3.8.

The Burnley man has also edged Maguire out in terms of the number of tackles and interceptions won per game. Maguire averages 1 tackle and 1.2 interceptions per game while Tarkowski 2 tackles and 1.2 interceptions, figures which show that the latter has outperformed his more highly-rated compatriot.

Also, Tarkowski has affected 6.7 clearances per game as compared to Maguire’s average of 4.9, which is largely down to the fact that Burnley have often sat back too deep inside their own half.

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In all honesty, there is not a lot to choose between the two centre-backs and it might sound a bit harsh but Maguire is a bit overrated. The Foxes would be under pressure to sign a replacement should Maguire depart given that they have some ageing centre-backs in Wes Morgan and Jonny Evans.

Filip Benkovic has enjoyed a fruitful loan spell at Celtic and Rodgers might be keen to use his former player at his parent club but someone like Tarkowski would be an upgrade on all of them any day.

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Looking at things from the Tarkowski’s perspective, a move to Leicester City would be the next big step in his career and he would be in a better position to challenge for a place in the England team. Leicester, under Brendan Rodgers, are a club with high ambitions, possibly a return to Europe and Tarkowski should relish the new challenge.

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Burnley plotting an ambitious swoop for this Chelsea first-teamer would help Dyche fix defensive crisis

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Burnley Opinion: Clarets would strike gold by signing Gary Cahill for free

According to the Daily Mail, Burnley have expressed their interest in signing out-of-contract Chelsea star Gary Cahill on a free transfer in the summer, with manager Sean Dyche reportedly looking to add more experience to his ranks.

The Daily Mail also understands that the 33-year-old would need to take a pay cut to join Burnley, although he is likely to have other suitors in the Premier League.

Dyche is well aware of the growing interest in his first-choice centre-back James Tarkowski, who has been a standout performer at the heart of the defence for the Clarets over the last few years. (h/t Daily Mail)

The move, if it materializes, would see Cahill make a sensational return to Burnley for the first time since 2004-05 when he had a loan spell at Turf Moor from his boyhood club Aston Villa.

The 33-year-old was given a standing ovation by the fans at Stamford Bridge last Sunday and it remains to be seen where his next destination lies after being deemed surplus to the demands by Maurizio Sarri.

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The Daily Mail reports that Cahill is determined to prove his mettle and play in the Premier League next season after making a ridiculously low 8 appearances for the Blues in all competitions this term.

The 33-year-old, who won 61 caps for England at the senior international level over the course of an illustrious and distinguished career, leaves Chelsea with a total of 290 appearances, having scored 25 times in the process.

There is hardly any accolade left for Cahill to be won after enjoying a wonderful trophy-laden spell at Stamford Bridge. The former England international has won 2 Premier League titles, 2 FA Cups, Europa League and Champions League trophies and is regarded as one of the most successful English defenders since the turn of the century.

To put things into perspective, Burnley would strike gold if they manage to lure a player of Gary Cahill’s stature to the club this summer. The Clarets are currently pretty well-stocked in their options at the heart of the defence but Cahill can be an upgrade on their defensive options.

The centre-back pairing of Ben Mee and James Tarkowski, that was crucial to Burnley’s 7th-place finish in the Premier League last season, looked a bit vulnerable in the earlier stages of the ongoing campaign.

However, both Mee and Tarkowski recovered from the early set-backs to play a pivotal role in steering the Clarets to safety in the top-flight for yet another season.

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If Burnley do lose the services of Tarkowski in the summer, they would still have Kevin Long as a reliable option, but if Tarkowski stays put, one would probably expect Cahill to start ahead of Ben Mee.

Ben Gibson has failed to have the desired impact following his move from Middlesbrough last summer and Burnley can certainly do with another top-quality centre-back like Cahill in their ranks.

Burnley often defend very deep as a unit and that is exactly where Cahill’s experience and composure would come into play. Cahill is not just an incredible reader of the game at the back but he knows how to soak the pressure and clear his lines to safety.

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Even at 33, Cahill is still quick enough to close down fast and agile opposition, with his anticipation skills and astute positioning often coming to his rescue.

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To sum it up, Gary Cahil is a complete centre-back and he still has what it takes to propel Burnley to greater heights in the Premier League.

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Predicted line-up

[Image] James Tarkowski to receive a start? – Predicted 4-4-2 Burnley XI to face Arsenal

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Burnley vs Arsenal FC Predictions: Burnley Line-up

Burnley welcome Arsenal to Turf Moor for the final Premier League game of the season on Sunday.

The Clarets have lost their last two matches since achieving top flight safety, but will be looking to end the season on a high by beating the Gunners at home.

On the other hand, Arsenal arrive at Turf Moor fresh from a 4-2 victory over Valencia to secure a date with Chelsea in the Europa League final.

Team News

Burnley chief Sean Dyche has no fresh injury concerns ahead of the game.

A decision will be made late on James Tarkowski, who missed two days training due to a birth of his baby.

Probable Burnley XI

Formation: 4-4-2

Manager: Sean Dyche

Tom Heaton (GK)

Heaton has been Burnley’s first-choice keeper in the past few months and is expected to be in goal on Sunday.

Matt Lowton (RB)

Lowton lacks pace, but he makes it up with his understanding of the game and defensive nous. He’ll keep his place at right-back.

James Tarkowski (CB)

Despite missing a couple of days training, Tarkowski is expected to start the final game against Arsenal.

Ben Mee (CB)

The experienced and strong Mee would be aiming to keep the Arsenal attackers at bay on Sunday.

Charlie Taylor (LB)

He is the Clarets’ first-choice left-back and is expected to start at Turf Moor.

Jeff Hendrick (RW)

Hendrick came on as a substitute in the 2-0 defeat against Everton, but could find his way back into the starting XI in the upcoming game.

Ashley Westwood (CM)

Westwood has had a phenomenal season in Claret and Blue and will be raring to end the season on a strong note.

Jack Cork (CM)

Cork is an intelligent player, who does the job of screening Burnley’s backline.

Dwight McNeil (LW)

McNeil has impressed a lot with his pace, crossing abilities and direct approach. He will likely get the nod ahead of Gudmundsson on the left wing.

Ashley Barnes (RS)

A strong and powerful striker, Barnes will look to make himself a pest for the Arsenal defenders.

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Chris Wood (LS)

Barnes’ partner in crime, Wood will be aiming to help Burnley end of the season with all three points.

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