Burnley could have a battle on their hands to keep hold of defender James Tarkowski in the summer transfer window.
The print edition of The Mirror (12 August, page 54) reported [via HITC] that Leicester are set to renew their interest in the 27-year-old, who has apparently hinted that he could be open to swapping Turf Moor for the King Power Stadium.
Along with goalkeeper Nick Pope, Tarkowski was the only Burnley player to feature in every minute of their 2019/20 Premier League campaign (as per TransferMarkt), putting in a series of outstanding displays towards the end of the season in particular and prompting Sean Dyche to champion his case for an England call-up.
The defender’s average WhoScored match rating for 2019/20 was higher than any of his team-mates, with him winning the most headers (5.2) and making the most interceptions (1.7), blocks (1.2) and clearances (5.3) per game of any Clarets player, thus illustrating how crucial he is to Dyche’s team.
Although Tarkowski has won two caps for England during his time at Burnley, he will be aware that Leicester finished five places higher in the Premier League and will have Europa League group stage football next season. Therefore, a move to the Foxes would give him a grander stage on which to perform with an eye to making Gareth Southgate’s squad for the European Championship next summer.
Furthermore, he has now been at Turf Moor since February 2016 and finished no higher than seventh in the Premier League, whereas Leicester have twice cracked the top five in that time. Also, as he turns 28 in November, this may be his last chance for a potential major big-money move.
Tarkowski has been a tremendous servant to Burnley since coming to the club, missing just 10 Premier League games over the past three seasons, so it would be difficult to begrudge him a chance of playing in Europe with Leicester – he only briefly dabbled in Europa League qualifying action two years ago as the Clarets went no further.
Will Burnley be able to keep hold of James Tarkowski?
However, his potential departure would leave sizeable boots to fill at the heart of the Clarets’ defence, given how consistently excellent he has been for Dyche’s team, and the Turf Moor hierarchy could have a fight on their hands to try and keep the 27-year-old at the club if he has ambitions of moving elsewhere.
Burnley fans, how big a loss would Tarkowski be if he moves to Leicester? Comment below with your views!
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