One of the many successes of Euro 2016 has been the re-emergence of the former Reading star, Hal Robson-Kanu. The Wales international caught the attention of the football fraternity, many of whom admittedly had no prior knowledge of the player. His most noteworthy moment was the goal against Belgium. The goal has been watched over and over in media houses and fans all over the world where he gracefully eliminated three Belgian with a ‘’Cruyff’’ turn and calmly slotted the ball into the goal.
This single glimpse of his quality along with his workmanlike performance has reportedly caught the eye of several clubs in England, Italy and Spain according to the forward. He let his contract run down at Reading and after the Euros, harbours ambitions of plying his trade in the Premier League. Burnley has been touted as a potential destination, but according to reports the player has decided to take a call after the hullabaloo of the transfer window dies down. And being a free agent he has the luxury of doing so.
We do a brief SWOT analysis of this player to evaluate how he could fare at Burnley.
Hal Robson-Kanu has never been considered a player with eye-catching skills or flair but his singular objective to work for the team’s cause has been appreciated at Reading. He had become somewhat of a cult figure there and made around 228 appearances for them scoring 30 goals and providing 26 assists demonstrating his goal scoring ability despite playing in various positions.
He is a perfect team man and his willingness to contribute from several positions make him an asset. His clever running and deft movements off the ball ensures defenders being attracted towards him thus opening up space for other players and when the need be he can score a few on his own as well.
Robson-Kanu is by no means a flair player. He has more of a workmanlike approach and doesn’t offer much creativity. He has previously been criticised for his passing and his inability to hold on to the ball. He has been guilty of losing possession easily and while he works hard higher up the pitch his defensive contribution has been a big drawback in his playing style.
Burnley have a singular aim of surviving in this season’s Premier League and then to build on from there. They have traditionally avoided spending too much money on players even if that heightened the chances of their survival. And Robson-Kanu is available for free. One can never foresee an injury and with the increased competitiveness and the nature of the league, having suitable back-ups or depth in the squad is of paramount importance.
He will be a more than capable option for them and at 27 years of age, he is believed to be in his peak playing wise. A fighting performance in the Euros highlights his adaptability on the biggest stage and they don’t come bigger than the English Premier League in club football.
Though he has been a reliable player for Reading over the years, it would be worth noting he was reduced to a role of a bit-part player in his final season. The manager and the coaching staff who study the players from close quarters on a regular basis are the best judges of a player. His inconsistent nature might be a reason he was not able to hold onto a regular spot. And sometimes a decision based on the performance in one tournament can be misleading.
He has the experience of playing in the Premier League for a season, but the league has been continually developing with high calibre players joining teams throughout the league. Burnley have to weigh up their options before deciding to add him as the combination of Andre Gray and Sam Vokes has been progressing well and in order to accommodate Kanu, the budding front-line might have to be tempered with.