Why Burnley should sign Mathias Normann to bolster their midfield
The 24-year-old, who currently plies his trade with FC Rostov in Russia, has also attracted interest from Premier League rivals Fulham and Southampton. Normann has expressed his desire to leave the club this month, with Spartak Moscow, Zenit St-Petersburg and CSKA Moscow also vying for his signature. (VG h/t Lancashire Live)
Normann rose through the youth ranks of FK Lofoten in the Norwegian third-tier before moving to the top-flight with Bodo/Glimt, where he made 42 appearances over four seasons. The midfielder also spent time on loan at Alta in the Norwegian second-tier during the 2015 season.
The 24-year-old’s potential was spotted by Brighton & Hove Albion, who completed a deal to bring him to the English south coast in 2017. However, he never made a competitive appearance for the Seagulls and spent time on loan at Molde in his homeland before joining FC Rostov in January 2019.
Normann’s stocks have been on the rise ever since his move to Russia, with the midfielder establishing himself as a regular starter at Rostov. He has amassed 2 goals and 8 assists in 49 appearances for the club in all competitions while also earning 7 caps for Norway at the senior international level.
Good long-term investment?
Burnley roped in Dale Stephens from Brighton to bolster their midfield in the summer following the departure of Jeff Hendrick to Newcastle on a free transfer. However, the 31-year-old hasn’t quite made a big impact at Turf Moor, starting only thrice in the Premier League so far this season.
The Clarets currently have four specialist central midfielders in the form of Ashley Westwood, Jack Cork, Josh Brownhill and Stephens competing for places. Cork, though, hasn’t been in the mix at all this season. The veteran suffered an injury towards the back end of the previous campaign and is yet to feature in the league this term.
With Stephens also offering very little, Cork’s unavailability for long parts has forced Sean Dyche to field the likes of Westwood and Brownhill week in, week out, without much rest. Youngster Josh Benson has stepped up occasionally but it has been evident that he’s not quite the finished article capable of playing regularly at this level just yet.
Plus, with Stephens, Cork and Westwood all past 30, Burnley should have one eye on freshening up things in the middle. Putting things into context, Mathias Normann would be more than worth a punt for the Clarets in the January window. A potential deal for the Norwegian would offer Dyche some much-needed depth and variety heading into a hectic second half of the season.
Normann’s heat map in Russia this season paints the picture of a hardworking box-to-box midfielder capable of contributing at both ends of the pitch. Besides that, he’s also capable of slotting into a more advanced attacking role and a deeper position as a shield for the rearguard.
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With an eye for goal to complement his industry, Mathias Normann would surely be a huge asset to Burnley’s midfield moving forward. The Norwegian still has his best years ahead of him at 24, meaning he would be well worth a significant outlay for the Clarets in the market.