Why Burnley should go back in the market for Joakim Maehle
Back in June, a report from Lancashire Live had claimed that Burnley were interested in securing a deal for Genk right-back Joakim Maehle. However, nothing came of those rumours before the summer deadline and the Dane has continued to fire on all cylinders in the Belgian top-flight.
A youth exponent of Danish club Aalborg, Joakim Maehle enjoyed an impressive breakthrough campaign in his homeland during the 2016-17 season, making 27 appearances in all competitions before completing a move to Belgian heavyweights Genk in 2017.
The 23-year-old has since gone on to accumulate an envious tally of 6 goals and 21 assists in 123 appearances for Genk, winning the Belgian top-flight title in 2018-19. Maehle featured prominently en route to Genk’s march to the last 32 of the 2018-19 Europa League and also caught the eye in the group stages of the Champions League last season.
Maehle represented Denmark at U-20 and U-21 levels earlier in his career before making his senior international debut in the UEFA Nations League last year. The right-back has since accumulated 4 caps for his nation.
Maehle would add more quality to Burnley’s full-back ranks
Hit hard by the financial ramifications of the pandemic, Burnley were among the least active clubs in the Premier League during the summer window. The Clarets made only two senior additions to their squad before the deadline, with midfielder Dale Stephens and goalkeeper Will Norris joining Sean Dyche’s crew.
Lack of transfer activity in the summer has already come back to bite them hard. The Clarets are yet to register a single win after 4 games and while it’s too early to pass a judgement, Dyche will surely have an eye on some potential targets when the market reopens in January.
Burnley have squad depth issues in several areas of the pitch and it would be a smart idea for them to restructure their full-back department in the near future. Erik Pieters (32), Phil Bardsley (35) and Matthew Lowton (31) are all accomplished full-backs in the Premier League but the Clarets ideally need to bring in some fresh faces to compete with their ageing stars.
Moreover, the injury to Lowton has forced Dyche to use Pieters, who is predominantly a left-back by trade, on the right-hand side of the backline. Burnley have lacked enough attacking contribution from their full-backs, which remains a major cause of concern.
To that end, Burnley making a renewed attempt to sign Joakim Maehle in January would go a long way towards solving a nagging issue in a key area of the pitch. The Dane is widely regarded as one of the best attacking right-backs in Belgium while his exploits in the Champions League and Europa League clearly suggest that he’s more than ready to make the step up to a more competitive league.
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Suffice to say, Joakim Maehle has enough quality to come through the door at Turf Moor as an instant upgrade on Burnley’s ageing full-back options. The Dane is still relatively young, so he would have plenty of time on his side to get to grips with the English game if a move does materialise in the near future. All in all, the Clarets going back in the market for the 23-year-old should be an absolute no-brainer.