Norwich City are rumoured to be interested in Chris McCann, writes Jamie Smith.
Well, this all feels very familiar. Last summer, we sold a good chunk of our first-team, including Tyrone Mears, Chris Eagles and Danny Fox, while Jack Cork also left the club after a successful loan spell. This year, Jay Rodriguez has already gone and it looks like Club captain Chris McCann could be the next out of the door, while rumours persist with linking Kieran Trippier with a move away.
Norwich City and Stoke City are thought to be sniffing around the midfielder, with a fee of over £1.5 million mooted by the gossip sites Yesterday, Chris Boden of the Burnley Express stated he expects the Canaries to make their move for our skipper in the coming days.
It’s disheartening to say the least. Burnley are now a selling club, that much is clear. There’s nothing wrong with that, but when it’s your best players going every summer, it’s hard to maintain enthusiasm. Arsenal fans are sick of it and they still finish in the top four of the Premier League every season.
The signing of Jason Shackell provided a massive boost. He fills a key position and I speculated on these pages last week that he could take the armband from McCann for the new season. But if we then lose another of our better players, it leaves us two steps back. Taking into account the sale of Jay, it’s not been a good summer in terms of transfers.
Eddie Howe faces a mad scramble once again to secure players to boost his options. He was rushed last summer and we ended up with the likes of Keith Treacy and Zavon Hines. Howe spoke of wanting to get his squad together for the start of pre-season. Shackell arrived just ahead of that deadline, while George Porter and Luke O’Neill are also new to the Club, but only Shackell is expected to start most games next season.
That leaves us having already lost one first-team player and only having brought one in. It’s not the rebuilding we hoped for. With McCann entering the last year of his contract, the Club obviously faces a decision over whether or not we can afford to turn down an offer and risk losing him for nothing in 12 months.
Questions need to be asked over why McCann and Rodriguez have been able to enter the same summer with just 12 months on their deal. Looking back now, it seems inevitable we would lose them both.
It must be incredibly frustrating for Howe. He knew – to an extent – what he was signing up for when he came to Turf Moor. But he can’t have imagined he’d lose Fox, Eagles, Cork, Mears, Rodriguez and McCann within the space of a year. Put those six into a Championship side and you have a title challenge.
Simply put, it’s not possible for Burnley to compete when the first 11 is decimated year in, year out. You can’t expect to sell stars in multi-million pound deals, replace them with young lads from the lower leagues and still be in the hunt for a top six place.
Unfortunately, that seems to be the reality for Burnley these days. The Club must look back to Owen Coyle’s reign, when the ex-Claret boss was able to bring in Eagles and Martin Paterson to replace Kyle Lafferty and Andy Gray. Those two were big money transfers and instrumental in our subsequent promotion and two cup runs. Porter and O’Neill appear to be sensible additions at a good price, but it’s hard to see them having anything close to the same impact.
If McCann wants to go to the Premier League – and to be fair to him he could have probably moved on last summer – then there’s little we can do to stop him. But the money HAS to be reinvested in the team with signings of the quality and experience of Shackell, or any hopes of a promotion challenge can be extinguished before a ball has been kicked.
Rumours keep linking us with Brian Stock and I like him as a player, but his CV reads Bournemouth, Preston, Doncaster. It’s not inspiring.
If McCann goes this week, that leaves us with two midfielders on the books – Dean Marney and Marvin Bartley. Honest, workmanlike professionals, but not likely to lead us to a top half finish.
It’s a big few days for the Club. Let’s hope we see more incoming players than outgoing ones.
Could Burnley turn down £1.5m+ for Chris McCann? Comment below.