Burnley have surprised quite a few people after they announced the signing of Steven Defour for a club-record £8m. The Belgian international became their fourth signing of the summer and arguably the only major signing apart from the capture of Gudmundsson from Charlton. There have been cries of inactivity and the dormant nature of the club during the transfer window and serious questions were raised about the project and the ambition of the club. Steve Bruce quit Hull City over the supposed inactivity and lack of urgency showed by the officials and Sean Dyche would not have been blamed for feeling a similar sense of despondency at the affairs at the club either.
Burnley have been distinctly separated from the hullabaloo that surrounds a club after securing a promotion and the plethora of changes and transfers teams usually undergo. Burnley had gained promotion in 2014, in what was Sean Dyche’s first full season with the club. But the Clarets immediately dropped down to the Championship that very season after failing to navigate a tricky relegation battle.
Burnley have shown restraint and the owners have historically kept the purse strings tight and have relied on academy products and their long-serving players have been given the opportunity to represent the club at the highest level. Burnley, with their economical and safety first approach, restricted their spending which made it difficult to ensure safety in 2014. They have been blessed with a talented core and that has been mainly the reason behind their ability to be in and around the top-flight and subsequently they finished 1st in the Championship hence securing an immediate return this season.
The board have been circumspect about splurging on new players which opens up the possibility of huge losses if the team fails to remain in the league. This simple logic has been holding back Burnley from going all out and forming a team which will be better suited to the rigours and quality of the top-flight. While their previous transfer policy cut down on risks on the financial side, truth be told, they did not help the club in moving towards a stage from where they could be confident of progress. The players had to give it their all and play out of their skin but ultimately lost out on the privilege of another year in the top-flight.
And with the signing of Steven Defour the club might have started to digress from their traditional approach, at least the fans certainly would be hoping so. In the high-intensity and the unforgiving nature of the Premier League, it is imperative that the teams are well-equipped to give themselves the best shot at what they set out to achieve. And with the huge influx of money coming courtesy of the new TV deal, it seems Burnley are finally opening up to the idea of spending money where it is necessary and looking to build a team which will look to shed the pre-conceived notion of being potential whipping boys of this season.
Steven Defour is a big step in that direction and here’s hoping the club sustain their intensity in all departments and manage to survive this season, and then build on from there.