Why Gonzalo Escalante Will Be A Shrewd Signing For Burnley
Premier League football is set to resume in less than a month’s time and the clubs have already dived into the transfer market to achieve their preferred options. Sean Dyche’s Burnley is no different either. The Clarets, who finished 16th in their return to the top flight of English football, have already secured three new signings in the form of ex-Swansea City midfielder Jack Cork, former Stoke City forward Jonathan Walters and young left back Charlie Taylor from Championship outfit Leeds United. Although they failed to retain a couple of first team regulars, Burnley boss Dyche is upbeat about the upcoming campaign and eyeing more inclusions in order to get closer to a top half finish.
As per reports, the gaffer has inquired about Argentine midfielder Gonzalo Escalante and is keen to bring him to Turf Moor following an impressive spell for La Liga outfit SD Eibar. The 24-year old star, who played a key role in their 10th placed league finish, is available for a fee of £6m – a paltry amount in such an inflated transfer market.
Burnley suffered a huge setback early in the window when they were forced to sell their contract rebel Michael Keane to league counterparts Everton. Midfielder George Boyd also rejected a contract extension offer and joined Championship heavyweights Sheffield Wednesday on a Bosman transfer. The arrival of 33-year old veteran Jonathan Walters will add experience in their attacking third, whereas the signing of Jack Cork will strengthen their midfield that has troubled them with injuries in recent past.
Despite Jack Cork’s arrival, a move for Escalante makes sense for Sean Dyche. Burnley may already have a plenty of midfield options in form of Steven Defour, Jeff hendrick, Ashley Westwood and Dean Marney. But they lack a quality deep-lying playmaker who can build the game from a deeper role. Marney is 33 and his career has been marred by significant injury blows. The Clarets, thus, need a long-term successor of current Burnley number 8 who is set to enter in his 8th season for the Lancashire outfit.
The former Boca Juniors prodigy was acquired permanently by Eibar from Serie B outfit Catania in January 2016. He is predominantly a central midfielder and is also capable of operating from a deeper role or from the right-hand side of the midfield. Escalante is known for his hard tackles along with blocking and intercepting skills. Although his passing is not up to the mark and has disciplinary concerns – he was shown 12 yellows and 1 red card last season in 33 appearances across all competitions, the combative Argentine will add toughness in the middle of the park while breaking down opponent’s attacks and screen his back-line when Dyche shifts to his ultra-defensive strategy.
The English gaffer, who prefers a ‘midfield four’ while lining up his starting XI, needs a character like him in midfield, who will drive his side to constitute the game and hold the shape against high pressing outfits.