Does Paul Dummett interest show lack of ambition at Burnley?
Burnley have yet to make major moves in the transfer window since their promotion to the Premier League. It can be argued that their first eleven has actually got weaker since the end of last season, as Joey Barton has left the club for Rangers. He was one of the side’s better players during the 2015/16 campaign and will be missed in the middle of the park.
On Wednesday, the club were linked with Newcastle United left back Paul Dummett. The Evening Chronicle state that Burnley have expressed an interest in the Welsh international and that there are other top-flight sides looking at the full-back. Burnley are looking to add Premier League experience to his back four and Dummett fits the bill perfectly. He has been a key player for Newcastle over the last two seasons and would be available for a reasonable fee.
Last season, Burnley played Stephen Ward at left-back for the majority of the campaign and he did well in the role. He isn’t going to change games, but he is solid defensively and has plenty of experience. Sean Dyche wants his sides to be well organised and keep things tight defensively, giving a platform to the likes of Andre Gray and Sam Vokes to win matches.
They have signed Jon Flanagan on loan who can play at left back, but he is more likely to start on the right. The last time that Burnley were in the top flight, Ward only played a supporting role, which suggests there are doubts about his ability to do well in the top flight. This may be why they are looking at Paul Dummett.
He wouldn’t be an exciting signing, but the Newcastle defender would fit into the club’s recruitment strategy. Dummett is young, hard-working and able to carry out instructions. Burnley have built a squad that is full of the right sort of characters and their work rate is one of their strongest attributes. During the 2014/15 season, the Clarets fought well and nearly stayed up on the back of their energy and team spirit. It is clear that they are going for the same approach this season.
Dummett is a good player in the Premier League, yet he is limited in what he can offer to the team. He is disciplined in his defensive work and strong in the tackle, which helps him retrieve the ball. In addition, he is good in the air and can contribute a few goals from set pieces. However, he doesn’t offer a lot going forward. He lacks pace which limits what he can do on the ball. It also hinders him if his side loses the ball when he is attacking, as he doesn’t have the ability to get back quickly to defend. If he does manage to get the ball in the final third, his crossing is poor.
The link to Paul Dummett does highlight a flaw in Burnley’s transfer policy as they transition from the Championship to the Premier League. They don’t change their approach and aim to bring in the same profile of player regardless of what division they are in. In recent years, they have looked to bring in players with a high work rate and build a functional side, which is tough to beat.
This works in the Championship and allows them to do well in that league, managing to win promotion on their last two occasions in that league. The problem is that they fail to build on their squad when they get promoted. In the Premier League, increased talent is required and they should look to bring in players who can change a game. Their defence is solid and they have a goal-scorer in Andre Gray, but their midfield is poor. They have brought in Johann Berg Gudmundsson, who was excellent in the Championship. However he has never played in the top flight and there are doubts about his ability to be as creative as he was last season for Charlton.
Burnley are a stable club, who are too good for the Championship, but they haven’t shown the ambition required to become established in the top flight. Paul Dummett would be an improvement on Stephen Ward and strengthen their defensive options, but there are other areas that need to be improved more. They lost a key player in Barton and have yet to replace his tenacity in the midfield. Moreover, the lack of creativity in the side is an issue, which needs to be addressed. Hull City have taken the headlines when it comes to being ill-prepared for the Premier League. However, Burnley have been underwhelming and need to make some moves before the end of the month. Otherwise, it could be an instant return to the second tier.
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