The glamours of playing European football are not all what they seem. Or so it must feel for Sean Dyche and the Burnley fans as the club have failed to attract high profile signings this summer, despite them having the possibility of the Claret's first 'European tour' in over 50 years.
Having made only three signings over the summer, we take a look at why Burnley struggled to attract high profile names to Turf Moor despite their optimistic prospects.
The Clarets faithful were jubilant not only for getting to European competition for the first time in over 50 years as they clinched seventh place last season, they were excited about the royalties that come with it. Burnley have had their ups and downs over the last number of years, but they can now feel that they have become an established Premier League side, managing to avoid relegation for two successful seasons and reaching the qualifications for the Europa League in the second.
They now own a state-of-the-art training ground, funded from the 2014 promotion campaign. The grounds ended up costing around £10m, but there still seems to be a lack of investment when it comes to transfers.
Players and agents could possibly be put off by the proud English heritage possessed by the small town of Burnley, increasingly so as the area just got voted one of the 'top 20 worst places to live' in England. Perhaps players from different nationalities fear the fans may not take to them as Burnley voted for Brexit in the 2016 EU referendum, not knowing that two years later they would be having to travel to the same EU to watch their team play.
Another factor could ironically be one of Burnley's biggest attributes. The Clarets boss Dyche has always been a fiery character, ever since his playing days when he was captain of Chesterfield. With his key principles requiring 100% effort and commitment, his demands could potentially not bode well with incoming players. Not due to the effort Dyche expects from his players, but due to the work ethic and pressure that they could be under.
Foreign players may look at this Burnley side and see a predominantly British based team, and when looking at the playing style Dyche likes to use, they may think twice about joining the side. Exciting and skilful players might not be able to flourish in a side which focuses predominately on defending.
For example, Frenchman Georges-Kévin N'Koudou struggled to fit the bill at Turf Moor with his loan move last term. The youngster was very exciting to watch on the attack, but much to Dyche's consternation he didn't possess the maturity to play defensively, leaving the full-backs often overrun. Dyche's displeasure was the main reason that the young winger didn't feature much throughout his six months at Turf Moor.
Having signed defender Ben Gibson, England international Joe Hart and Derby striker Matej Vydra, the club struggled to make more lucrative transfers. They saw their bids rejected for former fan favourite Jay Rodriguez, with the player possible not pushing hard enough on his end to make the move happen.
Whether or not Burnley make it to the Europa League group stages will not hide the fact that it has been a dismal summer. The board has managed to disappoint not only the fans, adding their most valuable asset to the list of those disheartened by the summer.
🗣 Sean Dyche: "It's been the worst window I've experienced, even some of the big, big clubs haven't got the player they wanted. And even more for us - we're spending decent money, you're looking at £10m/ £15m, that's decent money, and yet you can't scratch the surface." pic.twitter.com/1BfyH9zEiJ— Oddschanger (@Oddschanger) August 10, 2018
Dyche has gone on record several times throughout the transfer window voicing his frustration at the lack of deals being done. Even though he extended his contract with the club only eight months ago to remain through 2022, this doesn't guarantee that he will stay no matter what.
It seems that the management at Burnley have been blinded by recent accomplishments and are reluctant make another leap forward. If they fail to identify and make the necessary changes to the club's DNA that could attract better players, they may yet lose the man who got them to where they are in the first place.