Former England striker Darren Bent believes that James Tarkowski should remain at Burnley rather than make the move to West Ham amid strong transfer interest from the London club.
Despite previous reports claiming that Tarkowski is keen on moving to London Stadium, Bent feels that the grass may not necessarily be greener elsewhere for the Burnley centre-back.
The ex-Tottenham forward told Football Insider: “With Tarkowski, it’s a bit of a strange one, I’m not sure if it’s him or the system. What I mean by that is, when he plays in that Burnley system alongside Ben Mee and Nick Pope, they’ve got a little triangle there, where they all know what each other is doing.
“When him and Ben Mee play centre half it suits them so well, but individually I’m not sure how good Tarkowski is.
“What I do like about him is he takes pride in defending and that is a skill that most defenders nowadays don’t really want because they want to be able to pass it, they want to play and look good bringing the ball out and dribbling. He wants to put his head in where it hurts, he wants to clear the ball. He takes real pride in the fundamentals of defending, so I like Tarkowski.
“But I don’t think West Ham will be able to get him because why would you leave somewhere like Burnley where you know the manager, know where you’re going, to West Ham where anything could happen.”
Bent may have a valid point about Tarkowski maybe not being the most ideal fit for West Ham, when his statistics are compared with the players in David Moyes’ squad. As the ex-Spurs striker said, the Burnley man is excellent in the air, winning 5.2 headers per game last season, and averaged 5.3 clearances per match. Only two Irons players had better aerial duels averages, neither of them a centre-back, while the 27-year-old’s clearances per game average was better than anyone at West Ham (as per WhoScored).
Conversely, Tarkowski’s passing is quite weak in comparison to the Hammers’ squad, in which his 70.8% passing success rate would be one of the lowest were he to move to east London. In that respect, Bent may be right in saying that the Burnley man is better suited to the nitty-gritty defensive essentials such as headers and clearances.
Will Burnley be able to keep hold of James Tarkowski?
The former England striker is also right in noting the stark contrast in continuity between the two clubs. Whereas Sean Dyche is approaching his eight-year anniversary as Burnley manager, the Irons have had four managerial changes since the summer of 2015. The Clarets also finished six places and 15 points better off than the Londoners in last season’s Premier League.
Whether all that will be enough to persuade Tarkowski to stay put, though, is the burning question around a certain part of Lancashire these days.
Burnley fans, do you agree with Bent’s views on Tarkowski and West Ham? Have your say by commenting below!
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