Kevin Long’s impressive performances of late should spare Burnley the need to make centre-back signings in the upcoming transfer window.
That is according to Lancashire Live journalist Alex James, who feels that the Irishman’s displays in deputising for injured captain Ben Mee have been convincing enough to justify his place in the squad and should prompt Sean Dyche to target other positions in terms of potential incomings.
In a piece for Lancashire Live this morning, James wrote: “Long is out of contract next summer and may want to seek first team football elsewhere. Dyche and the Clarets will be keen to retain him.
“What the last few weeks have shown Burnley is that they have no need to splash cash on a centre back in this window. They can operate with three and focus the budget on other more pressing areas.
“A fourth senior centre back would be welcome, of course it would, but with Under-23 captain Anthony Glennon a potential option from within and Long’s performances taking out the urgency, it is one less problem for Dyche and the Turf Moor recruitment team to worry about in the immediate term.”
Do Burnley need to sign a centre-back this summer?
It is only right that James should sing the praises of Long, who has stepped up commendably in Mee’s absence. Burnley are unbeaten in all six matches since the 29-year-old came into the team, with just three goals conceded and three clean sheets (as per TransferMarkt).
The Irishman followed up a strong performance in last week’s draw against Wolves with another fine display as the Clarets saw off Norwich on Saturday, winning nine headers and recording an 83.8% passing success rate against the admittedly feeble Canaries.
The loss of Mee, who had previously been ever-present in this season’s Premier League, could have been a huge setback for Burnley, with Long the only viable senior option to come in and partner James Tarkowski. However, he has ensured that the captain has hitherto not been missed.
Ben Gibson is still a Clarets player but has effectively been frozen out by the club, although there are emerging talents in Glennon, Jimmy Dunne and Bobby Thomas to add squad depth in the central defensive area.
Dyche will likely want to bring in reinforcements this summer to beef up a small squad. However, as James has pointed out, the manager need not squander time on trying to pursue centre-backs, safe in the knowledge that Long is more than capable of compensating for the absences of others.
Burnley fans, do you agree with James’ verdict on Long? Comment below with your views!
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