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Dyche has rare chance to build squad

Comment by May 10, 2013 with 6 comments

It’s been a long while since a Clarets manager has been able to build a new team, writes James Bird.

This summer’s departures will open up the opportunity for an exciting off-season. Sean Dyche has a chance to build the side he wants at Turf Moor, he won’t need to fit another manager’s signings into a system – he can pick his system and bring in the personnel he needs for it to work. The last time we saw a chance for changes as big as this, Steve Cotterill took over a bare bones squad. He looked to lower leagues and diamonds in the rough to build a side that would eventually win promotion under a more skilled motivator. These places are where we’ll need to look again to get the most bang for our buck.

In many ways UK sport puts managers at a disadvantage. One man is responsible for bringing in players and picking the system a side plays. With the high managerial turnover in the modern game this can be turbulent for sides and make it difficult for new managers to play the football they want when they can only use the previous manager’s players. American sports use a different system. A general manager acquires players and his coach plays them in a system, if the coach doesn’t perform he is sacked but the GM’s philosophy continues. In a way, Swansea have half taken on this approach. Their promotion to the Premier League was a long journey, with a clear system that was bought into by several coaches – without bringing in managers who could play to that system they wouldn’t be where they are today.

Nevertheless, Dyche has been offered a rare opportunity to really influence his squad from a smaller number of bodies. There are now going to be key positions that need to be filled. He was hopeful of keeping hold of Lee Grant but the lure of family was too great for the fans’ player of the year and now Dyche needs to look for a new goalkeeping tandem. It looks as though he may have found his back up in the raw talent of Nick Liversedge but it will be most interesting to see who he brings in for the number one spot. While he had his critics, Grant is one of the best keepers in this league in my eyes. I was delighted when we signed him from Sheffield Wednesday and there was only Julian Speroni who I would have preferred – but we can no longer afford to be looking to pick off the cream of the league and will have to look lower down the league ladder.

The next big position Dyche has to fill is central midfield. I wrote some months ago about my disappointment in Chris McCann’s performances this season – he had gone stale at Turf Moor and while he has been a great servant and a product of the club’s youth system I felt it was time to move on. This looks likely to happen and Dyche has a big wage freed up that he can use to retool the centre of the park.

The Clarets midfield has been hit and miss this season. Dyche needs to be able to build his own system and bring in who he thinks can play it. When you are looking for a role player you don’t always need to spend the most money, when you have a system in mind you can afford to bring in a player who will excel in the role you have for him. He doesn’t need to be able to do everything else. The gaffer clearly wanted to keep Dean Marney and he adds battle to the middle of the park – he now needs someone attacking alongside him, a promotion season McCann, to make a good Championship pairing.

Up front is just as tough of a task to retool as the midfield. Charlie Austin is a fantastic goalscorer but it remains to be seen whether he will still be a Claret come August and he has struggled of late. Several systems have been tried in attack this season and the results have been mixed. This is not helped by the hot and cold nature of wingers. You will never have a winger at this level who will win you games every week and Junior Stanislas is a perfect example of that. On his day, he is fantastic. He can cross, beat a man and has a wicked shot from distance but all too often he goes missing and Dyche will need a system to compensate for these off days.

Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that there is a big tool that the Clarets haven’t made the most use of lately. The loan market. In the opening month of the season it’s worth watching what youth could be available from the top sides. One or two loan signings can add greatly to a side for very little capital and it’s not unusual for the top Championship sides to have one raw youngster lighting up their side.

The action on the pitch may have come to a close until August but this is set to be the most interesting off season at Turf Moor in years. Buckle up and enjoy the ride.

Who would you like to see Dyche bring in? Comment below.

  1. I’m genuinely really excited about this summer – next season’s side could look drastically different to this year’s.

    Posted 11 months ago by Kevin Robinson
  2. It should be seen as an oppurtunity. We have a few underachievers like Treacy and Bartley who now need to move on, but for me the only real top class player we have is Trippier. I know some people will argue Austin and he probably is when used in the right way, but for me his all round game is not good enough for him to fit into different systems. Austin needs to have a team built around him to thrive which at this level you don’t have the luxury of. Early season under Howe is good example of this where Howe was able to get him scoring phenomenal amounts of goals, but the teams reulsts were still below par.

    So back to my point; this is an oppurtunity because it gives us chance to improve on some of the many average players we have. It’s also a threat because the group we have at the moment would likely see us in mid table again next season. This is where the true meaning of ambition comes in for a club of Burnley. Not chucking money at it is not a lack of ambiton, it’s just being sensible. Where we can be ambitious is identifying the players that can take us on another level without breaking the bank. The top end of the Championship is full of players that weren’t known to many a couple of years ago and there’s no reason why we can’t pick some of these up. We also shouldn’t be afraid of picking up under-achievers from other clubs. There are potential bargains at the relegated clubs, especially Wolves, who may just need a change of scenery. We shouldn’t forget that Robbie Blake who was excellent for us in 2 spells was something of a failure at Elland Road and had just been relegated when we picked him up for a knock down price.

    Posted 11 months ago by Sean Cole
  3. There’s been many bad/dodgy decisions in recent years, this summer though, its pivitol we get it right. Otherwise, we can look to Brisitol City as an example of our next desitination.

    If Danny Ings bucks up (like he did against Wolves) we’ve got some player on our hands, so maybe only one other striker (Simon Church?) will do. Midfield is key though. I don’t think Stock features much in Dyche’s plans, and I’m not sure whether Bartley does either, but even with them both, thats only three midfielders. Maybe a raid of the relegated clubs could suit us?

    As for the keeping situation, Fielding would be a good choice. Derby fans seemed to rate him and seem a bit bemused why he’s not been kept for at least backup.

    Posted 11 months ago by Dale Husband
  4. I think we should look for some players who we can get on the cheap or some free agents. Maybe pick up some cheap gems that way.

    Posted 11 months ago by James McIlroy
  5. Exciting times ahead.

    We haven’t been far away this season (and we can all see opportunities lost and even wasted for those valuable 7 points) and we have been carrying some lightweights. It would be interesting to consider how Dyche would manage to shape his team if the likes of Austin chose to stay.

    Move some on, retain a few and maybe lose some high cost/valuable assets and invest wisely and we really can be pushing for a crack at the playoffs. It’s a challenging league though, so it won’t be a straight line to success.

    Isn’t football grand!

    Posted 11 months ago by Mike Mada
  6. Exciting times ahead.

    We haven’t been far away this season (and we can all see opportunities lost and even wasted for those valuable 7 points) and we have been carrying some lightweights. It would be interesting to consider how Dyche would manage to shape his team if the likes of Austin chose to stay.

    Move some on, retain a few and maybe lose some high cost/valuable assets and invest wisely and we really can be pushing for a crack at the playoffs. It’s a challenging league though, so it won’t be a straight line to success.

    Isn’t football grand!

    Posted 11 months ago by Mike Mada
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