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Reports from The Telegraph claimed that Stoke City forward Jonathan Walters is looking for a move away from the Britannia Stadium at the end of the season and this development seems to have alerted recently promoted Newcastle United, and Premier League outfit Burnley.
The 33-year old has apparently grown frustrated at the lack of opportunities that have come his way this season under Mark Hughes and with his contract set to expire in a year’s time, he will be discussing his future with the club at the end of the season.
Walters, this season, has made 22 appearances across all competitions, scoring 4 times and setting up 4 strikes. The versatile Irishman can play in any position in an attacking three but has mainly been utilised on the right-flank by Hughes this season.
Newcastle earned their promotion to the Premier League last week and are looking to strengthen their roster as they attempt to make a strong return to the English top-flight. Burnley, on the other hand, have all but confirmed their status as a Premier League club with a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace over the weekend.
Walters joined Stoke City from Ipswich Town back in 2010 in a £2.75 million deal and has been a vital player for the Potters over the years. Currently in his 7th season with the club – all of them in the Premier League, the 33-year old veteran has made a total of 269 appearances, scoring 62 goals in the process.
Someone with that amount of experience and know-how of the English top division will be an asset to any team that he may join. But Burnley should do everything in their power to bring him to Turf Moor next season.
The Clarets have been a solid and rigid outfit, playing in a 4-4-2 under Sean Dyche. The right-flank is usually manned by the hard-working George Boyd. But one issue with the 32-year old is that he doesn’t score enough goals for his team. This is something that could be addressed if Burnley manage to sign Walters in the summer.
Also, the fact that they may be losing their star striker Andre Gray in the summer is another matter of concern for Dyche. The 25-year old Englishman is the club’s leading goalscorer this season, with 9 goals from 29 league games and has also chipped in with 2 assists. But he has been linked with a move to Tottenham Hotspur.
While Walters may not be the ideal replacement if Gray leaves, the Stoke forward could certainly fill in at the top of the attack as well. At 33, he still possesses a decent turn of pace and with his wealth of experience, he can make a huge difference in the Clarets’ hopes of surviving another season in the Premier League.
The fact that he will enter the final year of his contract at the end of the season would mean that he will be available on the cheap as well, thus making him an attractive prospect for Burnley to consider. Wages could prove to be a stumbling block, with Newcastle better placed to offer him a bigger pay packet. But the appeal of regular playing time could sway Walters to the Turf Moor. So, if the opportunity presents itself in the summer, Burnley should be bold and make a move for the veteran attacker.