It was a strange time in the summer at Turf Moor; the club identified targets and secured their signatures almost as quickly. Players such as Joey Barton, Matt Lowton, Rouwen Hennings and Andre Gray were brought in efficiently and with minimal fuss.
Many reasons can be attributed to this, but the main protagonist behind the Claret curtain was Frank McParland – the arrival of Gray and Barton in particular can be pinned on the scouser, with both mentioning him by name when they sat down for their first press conferences as Burnley players.
Now he wasn’t quite Jelle Vossen, but McParland was in and out the door at Turf Moor quicker than Sean Dyche would have liked – Burnley’s loss was Rangers’ gain. You have to question his motives; his relationship with Mark Warburton was the biggest factor.
This writer cannot debate that Burnley are a bigger club, I foolishly got into a debate in the annals of Twitter with a Rangers fan who said he had to ‘Google who Burnley were’ – a laughable statement that shows the inadequacy of that particular fan, but you would feel McParland had more to gain, developing his brand with Dyche and the Clarets.
The dust has settled, he’s gone – so why the crying over spilt milk? Well Burnley haven’t replaced him yet and the club’s paucity without a McParland type figure in previous transfer windows was alarming.
The transfer of Tendayi Darikwa was about as un-Burnley as you are going to get. We played Chesterfield in a pre-season friendly, he had a blinder against us and he was snapped up from under the noses of Preston North End the very next day.
Now I’m not naive enough to surmise the full-back wasn’t on Dyche’s radar, but the way the Clarets syphoned their man showed a new vigour in the transfer market.
For every success there is a blip, or definitely a question mark. The curious case of Rouwen Hennings being one of them. Signed from Bundesliga II club Karlsruher SC, the striker came with a promising reputation, an impressive goal record and a powerful left foot to boot. Yet the Clarets faithful are somewhat perplexed regarding his impact in a claret and blue shirt.
This was a new Burnley, driven by McParland, showing a profligacy in the transfer market not seen in the club’s history. Splashing £3.1 million on the 28-year-old wasn’t a typical Burnley thing to do and time will tell if he is to make the grade with the Clarets.
Then, in what was a whirlwind deal that Burnley fans only saw happen to other clubs, Andre Gray was brought in for around £6 million. Already linked with Tottenham Hotspur, what a signing he is proving to be.
These deals had the stamp of Frank McParland all over them. Burnley need to replace him and carry on the superb recruitment that was the hallmark of the summer window. “Buy when you’re strong”, the old adage coined by Alan Hansen, could not be more apt.
No one is setting the league alight apart from possibly Hull City who to quote Joey Barton “have gone off like a scalded cat” – a fantastic turn of phrase by arguably Burnley’s most influential summer signing, thank god the Clarets dodged the Henri Lansbury bullet.
Sean Dyche’s troops are in good shape. The addition of a centre-half and pacey wide man would do the promotion push no harm at all. Mike Duff cannot go on forever and George Boyd has been out of sorts this season, by his usual standards.
When that transfer window opens in January, Sean Dyche needs a sidekick again.