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Burnley have had a strong start to the summer. After having had a decent return to the Premier League last season, Sean Dyche’s side will be hoping to build on it and maintain their top flight status for the coming seasons as well.
It has been a fairly active transfer window at the Turf Moor, with several ins and outs happening since the transfer window opened earlier this month. Midfielder George Boyd left the club following his contract expiry and has joined Sheffield Wednesday. Last season’s star man Michael Keane left for Everton in a club record £30million fee.
The Clarets have brought in seasoned pro Jon Walters from Stoke City for an undisclosed fee, while left-back Charlie Taylor has arrived from Leeds United after his contract ran out – a compensation fee decided by a tribunal will need to be paid for this deal. And the latest addition to the ranks is midfielder Jack Cork from Swansea City in a £10million deal.
The fact that Andre Gray is still a Burnley player, considering the amount of early interest in him is also a good thing for the club. But with contract negotiations not progressing well, he may well eventually be sold before the transfer window slams shut.
Based on the current acquisitions and departures, here is how the Burnley line-up could look like next season.
Tom Heaton is the captain of the team and is the undisputed choice between the sticks. The former Manchester United academy man had a strong campaign and will hope to build on it.
At right-back, Matthew Lowton will hold on to his place in the playing XI. The 28-year old had an impressive season and has grown into a reliable option for the manager.
With Michael Keane’s departure, a place opens up in the heart of the defence, and it is likely that Dyche will call upon James Tarkowski to take over the mantle at centre-back. The 24-year old did a solid job at the backend of last season when called upon and looks ready to take over from Keane. He will be partnered by Ben Mee who was equally impressive as Keane, but was hardly given due credit. Expect another solid central defensive partnership at the Turf Moor next season.
At left-back, new signing Charlie Taylor will walk into the starting XI in the place of Stephen Ward. While Ward had a decent season last time out, the 23-year old Taylor will add much more to the team in terms of an attacking outlet.
With the right flank now left vacant by the departure of George Boyd, it is very likely that Jon Walters will take up that place. The 33-year old comes with vast experience in the Premier League and can prove to be a smart addition.
In the middle of the park, Jack Cork will step in, in the place of Joey Barton. The former Swansea captain, who had a loan spell with the Clarets seven years ago, will be expected to provide the defensive steel to the midfield. He will be partnered by Jeff Hendrick. The Republic of Ireland international had a strong debut season last time around with Burnley and will be expected to carry on the good work. Johann Berg-Gudmundsson and January signing Ashley Westwood will be the options from the bench.
On the left-hand side of the midfield, it will be a toss-up between Scott Arfield and Robbie Brady, but the former Aston Villa man, who arrived in January, is likely to be the preferred option, owing to his strong set-piece abilities and ability to hit accurate crosses.
Dyche is expected to continue with his two-striker partnership at the top and club’s second captain Ashley Barnes is set to occupy one of those spots. The 27-year old will need to step it up a notch however, and add more goals to his tally.
Amid doubts over the future of Andre Gray, Barnes could be set to partner up with Sam Vokes. The Welsh striker was the club’s top-scorer in the Premier League last season and had a strong finish to the campaign. If he manages to stay fit for the entire course next term, he could turn out to be a very important player for Burnley.