Why Richard Nartey would be a good long-term signing for Burnley
According to Lancashire Live, Burnley are interested in signing former Chelsea youth prospect Richard Nartey on a free transfer. The defender has been on trial at Turf Moor and recently started for the Clarets’ reserves in the 2-2 draw against Aston Villa U-23s on Monday.
Nartey has been without a club after being released by Chelsea at the end of last season. The 22-year-old had attracted interest from Sheffield United and West Bromwich Albion earlier in the summer but he’s now apparently closing in on a move to Burnley after impressing as a trialist for the club’s development side in the Premier League 2 Division 2. (h/t Lancashire Live)
Born in Hammersmith, Richard Nartey joined Chelsea’s youth system at the U-9 level back in 2007 and rose through the ranks to make his debut for the U-18s during the 2016-17 season. He was quickly promoted to the U-23 side in the same campaign and later went on to establish himself as a key figure for the Blues’ development side.
The versatile centre-back made 25 appearances for Chelsea’s development side at the Premier League 2 level while also featuring for the U-21s in the Football League Trophy. Nartey had his first taste of senior professional football on loan at Burton Albion in League One last season, making 29 appearances across all competitions.
Despite making a positive impression on loan, the 22-year-old was deemed surplus to requirements in West London at the end of the 2019-20 campaign. Nartey joined Burnley as a trialist back in September and is now on the verge of joining the Clarets on a permanent deal. (h/t Lancashire Live)
Burnley would benefit from Nartey’s potential
Burnley have been made to pay a heavy price for their lack of activity in the summer window after enduring a dismal start to the 2020-21 campaign. The Clarets currently sit 19th in the standings with just 2 points from 7 games so far, scoring just 3 goals and conceding as many as 12 in process.
Sean Dyche’s side have never been among the highest-scoring teams in the PL but have earned plenty of plaudits for their defensive organisation over the years. However, Burnley have looked quite fragile at the back so far this season, besides their long-standing struggles at the other end of the pitch.
The first-choice central defensive pairing of James Tarkowski and Ben Mee has often failed to hit the same heights this term. Kevin Long and breakthrough starlet Jimmy Dunne have also had a fair crack of the whip but neither has been able to do an awful lot in terms of stemming the inflow of goals.
With Long (31) and Dunne both out of contract next summer, Burnley need to line up some alternatives to reshape their backline with one eye on the future. The Clarets managed to retain the services of Tarkowski this past summer despite widespread interest from other clubs.
But Burnley would find it difficult to keep the potential suitors for their star defender at bay if they end up getting dragged into a relegation dog-fight.
Hence, Burnley shouldn’t hesitate to take a punt on Richard Nartey if they genuinely believe he’s good enough to make an impression at the highest level. The 22-year-old failed to make the grade at Chelsea but the competition for a first-team spot isn’t as intense at Turf Moor.
Nartey is unlikely to be drafted straight into Burnley’s first-team ranks but he’s still at a good age and has plenty of time to make significant improvements to his game.
The ex-Chelsea youngster’s versatility to operate as a centre-back and right-back should also make him a utility asset to Dyche. With Phil Bardsley nearing his twilight at 35, Nartey would offer valuable cover in multiple areas of the pitch.
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Richard Nartey impressed on his loan spell at Burton Albion in League One. While that hardly lends testament to his Premier League credentials, it is imperative to say that the 22-year-old still has his best years ahead of him. Burnley need some young blood to freshen up their backline and Nartey could well be an effective low-cost gamble if he thrives in the top-flight.