David Ornstein, football correspondent for The Athletic, finished his latest Monday episode of ‘Ask Ornstein’ by answering a question asking him how much sleep he is getting. He rather candidly revealed “I don’t think you can succeed in this industry by sleeping a lot…. Especially during transfer windows.” This is an acutely genuine observation.
Unless you’re covering Burnley!
I previously wrote a piece overviewing Forest’s Matty Cash and his potential move to turf moor but at the time of writing nothing more has materialised on that front or indeed any other front.
(Save the signing of 27-year-old reserve goalkeeper Will Norris from Wolves) – This could be an indication that Nick Pope is likely to depart for pastures new but so far he remains a Claret.
According to ‘Transfermarkt,’ the latest transfer rumours surrounding Burnley are a potential swoop for Norwich’s Teemu Pukki estimated to be 60% likely and Dwight McNeil’s possible departure to Leicester at 53% likelihood.
Burnley fans are aware the printing presses are never at risk of burnout during transfer windows and this summer is no different. It is however more crucial the Clarets strengthen their squad before 2020/21 having seen key personnel depart the club after seeing out their contracts.
When unable to cover transfer drama, fans look to other possible outlets for content surrounding their clubs. I was no different and chose to cover the content I found in this piece. Using help from TifoFootball’s ‘Sensible Transfers’ series, the following is a look not at who Burnley will sign, but who they doubtlessly should sign.
Sensible Transfers is a series pioneered and produced by Tifo Football. The episodes can be found on YouTube under the ‘Tifo Podcast’ channel or alternatively on Spotify under the same handle. The general premise is that using statistics, budgetary constrictions, tactical set up, etc. Players are identified which would best suit each club for various positions. I will be examining the metrics behind Alex Stewart and Seb Stafford-Bloor’s sensible transfers for Burnley FC.
(Alex Stewart and Andy Jones also teamed up on The Athletic to produce a Burnley Sensible Transfers but for consistency I will only be examining the players chosen on the Podcast.)
An important caveat I believe is worth mentioning is that the picks have been selected with a view at making the squad “younger and more exciting.” This is a relatively vague sentiment not one decidedly echoed by Sean Dyche who values character above most other attributes, of which age and flair would surely comprise.
Dyche’s Burnley rely almost solely on the creativity of Dwight McNeil to progress the ball forward. On the right-hand side, a similar task is being asked of Johann Berg-Gudmundsson however due to his persistent hamstring injury he cannot be relied upon to provide consistent minutes. Burnley will be looking for a player that is blessed with similar attributes.
Burnley FC Sensible Transfers:
RM – Niclas Eliasson (Bristol City)
RM – Jón Dagur Thorsteinsson (AGF)
RB – Matty Cash (Nottingham Forest)
RB – Fankaty Dabo (Coventry City)
It is clear that Post/During-Covid19 finances are going to be short for Burnley with chairman Mike Garlick admitting if the season hadn’t restarted “finances would have run out by August”. With that in mind, all of these picks have been identified with their relatively low cost in mind. Let’s examine the metrics.
(All stats are taken from the 2019/20 season)
Market Value: £3.6m (transfermarkt.com)
Goal Participation: 25%
Underlying Stats (fbref.com):
(I have chosen these 3 underlying metrics as I believe they are traits a Burnley wide-midfielder needs. i.e. defensive capability and wide creativity)
Eliasson, at the time of writing, only has 1 year left on his contract making him likely to be available for slightly less than his normal market value. Burnley and Bristol City also enjoy a strong working relationship having recently completed deals for Josh Brownhill and Nahki Wells together. He is also tactically versatile being able to play on either flank. This could prove useful in the event Burnley play McNeil as No. 10 as they did post-restart against Crystal Palace.
Eliasson would represent savvy business for the Clarets.
Jón Dagur Thornsteinsson:
Market Value: £1.35m (transfermarkt.com)
Goal Participation: 31%
At just 21, Thorsteinsson would be potentially more of a prospect than Burnley need at present. While his numbers in 19/20 are strong, he currently plays in the Danish Superliga meaning the step up to the Premier League may be too high for Burnley to rely upon him for consistent creativity. If Gudmundsson can avoid any serious injury in 2020/21, Thorsteinsson would be a more tenable option as the two could share more minutes, in doing so, spread the creative mantle.
Thorsteinsson would represent astute, if however optimistic, business for the Clarets.
I previously covered Matty Cash on The Futbol Repbulic, see the link below: http://thefutbolrepublic.com/burnley-eye-up-swoop-for-forests-matty-cash/
Market Value: £270,000
Goal Participation: 6%
Similarly, to Thorsteinsson, there is an element of gambling with Dabo. Granted his market value is very low for a purchasing Premier League side meaning should the gamble not pay off the risk is relatively minimal, but it is impossible to overlook the staunch reality he is a League 1 player at 24. Having said that, for 2020/21 Burnley already have 2 RB’s in Matt Lowton and Phil Bardsley meaning Dabo could take a season on the side-line to ‘blood-in’ before being handed more minutes.
Dabo would represent hopeful and relatively low-risk business for the Clarets.
For reference here are the same metrics I have used for the Sensible Transfers for Burnley’s existing players in those positions (Gudmundsson + Lowton) so you, the reader, can draw your own comparisons and conclusions.
Market Value: £7.2m
Goal Participation: 4%
Market Value: £3.6m
Goal Participation: 2%
When making any meaningful comparison between players, the first piece of data that should be considered is Minutes. Players with fewer minutes tend to have inflated returns meaning their output over a full 38 game season may not be consistent.
These Sensible Transfers are a good inclination at what the new-era recruitment of clubs is beginning to look like. Statsbomb, Wyscout, fbref.com are all becoming crucial tools in the analysis of footballers. Understandably statistical analysis is not a totally holistic measure of a players’ value to a club hence why these transfers can only ever be Sensible and not Perfect! For every golden nugget unearthed, there’s a lump of coal waiting in the wings. For now, let’s hope when Burnley go prospecting into the transfer market, their findings are shiny and dense!