Why a new deal for their 31-year-old key star is a shrewd step by Burnley

Burnley midfielder Jack Cork turned 31 last June.
Burnley midfielder Jack Cork turned 31 last June. (Getty Images)

Why Burnley have struck gold with a new deal for Jack Cork

According to the Lancashire Telegraph, Burnley midfielder Jack Cork has signed a new deal to extend his stay at Turf Moor until 2022, with the Clarets holding the option of triggering a 12-month extension to the contract. 

Cork is currently into his fourth season at the Lancashire club, having re-joined the Clarets for a second stint from Swansea City in 2017. He spent a couple of seasons at Turf Moor on loan from Chelsea earlier in his career.

A youth exponent of Chelsea, Cork spent time on loan at Scunthorpe United. Coventry City, Southampton and Watford in the Championship. It was during his loan at Burnley in 2009-10 that he had his first taste of the Premier League and went on to feature for the Clarets in the Championship in the following campaign after having his loan extended. 

He joined Southampton on a permanent deal in 2011 and helped the Saints secure a return to the Premier League. Cork made over 120 appearances for the club before moving on to Swansea City in January 2015 and went on to establish himself as a key player for the Welsh outfit in the top-flight.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – JUNE 22: Bernardo Silva of Manchester City battles for possession with Jack Cork of Burnley during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Burnley FC at Etihad Stadium on June 22, 2020, in Manchester, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Burnley then orchestrated a deal to bring Cork back to the club in the summer of 2017. The defensive midfielder has since been an indispensable cog in Dyche’s engine room, playing a key role in the Clarets’ recent success in the Premier League. 

Cork started all of Burnley’s 38 league fixtures in his debut season as the club finished 7th in the top-flight and completed a return to Europe for the first time in over 50 years. The midfielder was once again instrumental as the Clarets staved off relegation in the following campaign. He then guided them to an impressive 10th-place finish last term. 

The 31-year-old has been sidelined with a fractured foot since June and is yet to feature in the 2020-21 campaign. However, he is currently on the comeback trail from his injury and recently returned to action for the club’s U-23 side. Regardless, Burnley have pulled off a shrewd piece of business by securing the future of one of their key players.

The one-cap England international has played 175 times for Burnley across two separate stints. He offers a lot of stability and experience to the club’s midfield unit. A new deal for Cork represents a continuation of the Clarets’ contract renewal drive to tie most of their first-team mainstays down to new deals. 

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 29: Jack Cork of Burnley is challenged by Miguel Almiron of Newcastle United during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Burnley FC at St. James Park on February 29, 2020, in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Strikers Ashley Barnes, Chris Wood, Matej Vydra and Jay Rodriguez, as well as midfielders Dwight McNeil, Josh Benson and Ashley Westwood have all put pen to paper on fresh terms over the past 12 months. Cork has now become the latest key player to commit his future at Turf Moor. 

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Verdict

Burnley might have found it difficult to freshen up their squad with new signings in recent windows. That has made it all the more important for the Clarets to secure the futures of their existing stars and Jack Cork still has a big role to play in Dyche’s set-up. Still only 31, the midfielder is far from a spent force and new contract will certainly help him focus on his game when he returns from injury.

Written by Sayan Chatterjee

A Premier League enthusiast and an avid follower of the beautiful game.

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