Why Burnley should make a last-ditch attempt to sign Joakim Maehle
The Clarets had been heavily linked with the 23-year-old during the summer window but a deal to bring the defender to Turf Moor eventually failed to materialise. Maehle has continued to impress for the Belgian heavyweights and is now closing in on a £10million move to Serie A high-flyers Atalanta ahead of the January window. (Sky Sports h/t Lancashire Live)
Maehle looked all set for a switch to the Premier League in the summer, with Southampton also mentioned among his list of admirers. However, with Atalanta now making an approach and given the club’s Champions League status, the Danish international seems poised to move to Bergamo next month.
A youth exponent of Danish club Aalborg, Maehle made his first-team debut in his homeland during the 2016-17 season before earning a move to Genk in the following summer. The Dane has gradually evolved into one of the mainstays at the back for the Belgian outfit, racking up an impressive tally of 6 goals and 22 assists in 130 appearances across all competitions.
The 23-year-old was an integral part of the Genk side that won the 2018-19 domestic title and also caught the eye in the club’s march to the last-32 of the Europa League. Maehle earned rave reviews for his performances in the group stages of the Champions League last season, with his impressive development putting several clubs across the continent on red alert.
Meanwhile, Burnley climbed up to 16th in the PL standings with a merited 2-1 win over Wolves on Monday night, thanks to goals from Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes. That was only the club’s 3rd win in 13 league fixtures this season so far but it should go a long way towards breathing some much-needed oxygen into their tottering campaign.
With the Clarets managing a four-game unbeaten run in the PL, including wins over Arsenal and Wolves, Sean Dyche’s side seem to be getting into their stride ahead of a busy festive period. Burnley’s upturn in form should undoubtedly ease relegation worries but it goes without saying that they are in dire need of some transfer spark in January to climb up the table.
Sean Dyche has gaping holes to plug in several areas of his squad and the manager might as well start with the right-back department. Despite the report indicating a greater likelihood of Joakim Maehle joining Atalanta next month, the Clarets should not hold themselves back from making a final roll of the dice to hijack a deal for the Dane.
Burnley can certainly do with some fresh blood at right-back in the coming seasons, with Matthew Lowton and Phil Bardsley both nearing the end of their contracts next summer. Considering that Bardsley in nearing his twilight at 35 and Lowton not getting any younger at 31, a talented young player like Maehle ticks plenty of boxes at Turf Moor.
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Joakim Maehle has backed up his strong domestic form in Belgium with some quality displays in European competitions.
That clearly underlines his ability to thrive in more competitive surroundings and Burnley should definitely consider making a renewed attempt to sign him in the winter market. At 23, the right-back still has plenty of room for development and would be an excellent long-term investment for the club.