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Burnley sign 22-year-old ex-Chelsea youngster on a free transfer – A useful move for Dyche?

Why Burnley signing ex-Chelsea youngster Richard Nartey is a good long-term step

According to a report by Daily Mail, Burnley have signed 22-year-old English centre-back Richard Nartey on a free transfer. The defender attracted interest from West Bromwich Albion and Sheffield United but has now signed a contract with Burnley after a successful trial with the Clarets’ U-23 squad. (h/t Daily Mail)

Profile

Born in 1998 in England, Richard Nartey joined Chelsea’s youth academy in 2007. The centre-back spent 12 years with their youth team before signing a professional contract with the club in 2019.

Before ever making an appearance for Chelsea in the Premier League, he was loaned to third-tier Burton Albion for the 2019/20 season. The English centre-back made 29 appearances for Burton where they finished 12th in the truncated League One season.

He was released by Frank Lampard at the end of the 2019/20 season before being signed by Burnley on a free transfer this week. (h/t Transfermarkt)

Richard Nartey spent a productive season in the League One with Burton. (GETTY Images)
Richard Nartey spent a productive season in League One with Burton Albion. (GETTY Images)

Nartey would offer much-needed cover at the back for Burnley

Burnley are in dire straits at the back. Kevin Long, James Tarkowski and Ben Mee are the only reliable centre-backs for Sean Dyche. However, the defensive situation has become complicated with James Tarkowski’s contract discussions not going to plan amidst transfer rumours.

Dyche also called up 23-year-old Jimmy Dunne from the U-23 squad at the start of this season. If the settled pairing of Tarkowski and Mee is to be disturbed, then Burnley need a capable replacement for him as well as someone who competes with the replacement for that spot.

Richard Nartey will be key here. The young English defender is a good long-term coup but his impact in the short term cannot be undermined. He will add depth to the backline and can be played in cup games until Dyche has him integrated into the first-team picture.

Not only that but Nartey will also increase the competition within that position. It is no hiding that Burnley, like all Premier League teams, will have to play more than two matches a week on several occasions. Having Nartey might mean that Dyche would be able to rest his starting centre-backs as well as have a back-up defender ready in case of an injury.

Richard Nartey will provide much needed cover at the back for Burnley, especially if James Tarkowski departs. (GETTY Images)
Richard Nartey will provide much-needed cover at the back for Burnley, especially if James Tarkowski departs. (GETTY Images)

Having managed almost 5 clearances, 3.2 successful aerial duels, and 2 interceptions per match in League One last season, Nartey can hold his own when it comes to the no-nonsense defending that Burnley take pride in.

Verdict

There isn’t much that could have gone wrong with the deal. Nartey was a free agent and on the lookout for a club. However, Sean Dyche deserves credit to fend off interest from other clubs for a talented defender such as him.

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected clubs financially and getting a first-team defender on a free transfer instead of purchasing one for a bloated fee in January makes sense for Burnley.

The Clarets are hovering above the relegation zone with goals hard to come by. Nartey may not be helpful in that regard but he would surely aid Burnley’s efforts in trying to stop goals going in at the other end.

Written by Aniket Rai

An ordinary football fan, doing what he loves.

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