Burnley going back in for their £10m former target would be of great help to Sean Dyche

Middlesbrough defender Dael Fry in action. (Getty Images)
Middlesbrough defender Dael Fry in action. (Getty Images)

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Why Burnley reigniting interest in Dael Fry would solve defensive issues

Back in January, a report from The Sun claimed that Burnley had been lining up a £10million swoop for Middlesbrough centre-back Dael Fry. However, talks over a potential deal for the defender failed to progress between the two clubs and Fry ended up staying put at the Riverside Stadium.


Dael Fry joined Middlesbrough’s youth system back in 2005 and went on to represent the club across various age levels, also featuring in the UEFA Youth League. He signed his first professional contract in 2014 and made his professional debut as a starter in a goalless draw against Preston North End on the opening day of the 2015-16 Championship campaign.

The 23-year-old spent time on loan at Rotherham United in the following campaign as Middlesbrough secured promotion to the Premier League. Fry returned to the club in January 2017 after making just 10 league appearances during his loan spell.

He only played a bit-part role for Boro in 2017-18 following their relegation to the second-tier before establishing himself as one of the defensive mainstays in 2018-19.

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LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 17: Dael Fry of Middlesbrough during the Sky Bet Championship match between Fulham and Middlesbrough at Craven Cottage on January 17, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

Fry has since blossomed into one of the best young central defenders in the EFL Championship, accumulating 115 appearances for his boyhood club in all competitions. The centre-back represented England across various age levels between U-17 and U-21 earlier in his career, featuring in the U-20 side that lifted the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup.

Fry would be a good long-term signing for the Clarets

Burnley have been made to pay a heavy price for their lack of significant activity in the summer market. A dismal start to the 2020-21 season has seen them accumulate only 2 points from their 7 opening Premier League fixtures so far. Sean Dyche’s side have scored just 3 goals while conceding 12 in the process, which clearly sums up their issues at both ends of the pitch.

While bringing in attacking reinforcements should definitely be high on the club’s agenda in January, Burnley also need to reshape their backline with one eye on the future. Kevin Long (31) and Jimmy Dunne are both out of contract next summer. With Ben Gibson not in the manager’s plans, it would make sense for the Clarets to start lining up some younger alternatives.

Burnley did exceedingly well to keep hold of James Tarkowski amidst widespread interest in the centre-back during the summer window. But with the Clarets languishing in the relegation zone, they could find it increasingly hard to fend off interest in the England international moving forward.

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MIDDLESBROUGH, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 09: Dael Fry of Middlesbrough during the Sky Bet Championship match between Middlesbrough and Leeds United at the Riverside Stadium on February 9, 2019 in Middlesbrough, England. (Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images)

To put things into perspective, Burnley making a renewed attempt to sign Dael Fry from Middlesbrough in January would be a smart idea to freshen up things at the back. The 23-year-old has been a standout performer for Boro in the Championship over the past two seasons and definitely deserves a shot at proving his credentials in the top-flight.


Burnley need to get their recruitment spot on in January, with squad depth issues in several departments threatening to jeopardise the club’s Premier League status. The Clarets’ lack of financial power during the pandemic is understandable but, at the end of the day, they need to upgrade their ranks by adding new players to remain competitive in the top-flight.

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Dael Fry has shown great potential in the second-tier and still has his best years ahead of him at 23. He has all the qualities to come through the door at Turf Moor as a long-term defensive fix, thus making the Middlesbrough man worth a punt for Burnley during the mid-season trading period.