A report from The Independent has claimed that Liverpool are harbouring an interest in Burnley centre-back James Tarkowski.
Over the course of the recently concluded season, the defender earned rave reviews for his performances at the back for the Clarets. He played a key role in Burnley’s run-up to secure a 7th-place finish and going into next season, there are a lot of expectations from the player as well as manager Sean Dyche.
As far as Dyche is concerned, it would be rather unwise to let Tarkowski leave at such a pivotal time. Nobody expected Burnley to finish where they did the last term but they were able to excel mainly because of their solid backline.
Tarkowski, alongside Ben Mee, established a formidable defence which saw some of the best teams in the league struggle to score against Burnley. But the next campaign will be tougher, with European football involved and if they are to continue the good work, it will be essential for Dyche to build his team around Tarkowski.
First and foremost, the manager will have to ensure that the player chooses to continue at Turf Moor. He is a widely appreciated figure among the fans and there seems to be no reason for him to want to leave unless the prospect of European football lures him to Anfield.
To be fair, Burnley are on the verge of building a legacy now. They have a good team and Tarkowski’s exploits will be key to their success in the seasons to come.
To put things into perspective, Burnley only conceded 39 Premier League goals last season, the fourth-best defensive record among the top-10 teams in the division.
Hence, it came as no surprise when he was named in England’s World Cup standby list. However, the centre-back ultimately failed to book a berth for himself in Gareth Southgate’s final 23-man squad for the showpiece event in Russia, owing to a hernia problem.
A ball-playing central defender by trade, Tarkowski’s presence will help Burnley maintain a rigid defence. It’s not just his performances that stand out but his leadership qualities on the field are worth mentioning as well.
Even in Mee’s absence, Tarkowski never let the team down and he somehow brought the best out of every defender who was paired with him. A player like that is a gem and while Burnley will be busy this summer, they must ensure they retain Tarkowski’s services for a long, long time.