The Burnley fans in the Transfer Tavern can hardly contain their excitement ahead of their return to European football after more than a 50-year absence.
Sean Dyche brilliantly masterminded Burnley’s qualification into Europe last season by installing a system founded on defensive solidity and meticulous organisation which made them a difficult proposition to break down. James Tarkowski’s performances at the heart of defence played an instrumental role in the Clarets climb up the Premier League table, and his fine form deservedly earned him a place on the standby list for England’s World Cup squad.
The 25-year-old (valued at £5.4 million by Transfermarkt) was not only defensively assured and disciplined in his approach, but he was also effective in possession of the ball, so it’s no surprise he has attracted interest from Liverpool according to reports in The Independent. The good news for Burnley is that Liverpool are also interested in signing Jamaal Lascelles, however, Newcastle’s captain has publicly declared his admiration for the club and expressed his desire to remain in the North-East this summer according to the Northern Echo.
With that in mind, it’s likely that Liverpool will pursue the signature of Tarkowski, and with the lure of Champions League football and a significant pay rise to bring to the table, Burnley could be set to wave goodbye to their rising star this summer. If that does indeed prove to be the case, the consequences could be devastating for Burnley’s Europa League aspirations.
Naturally, the club will take the competition one step at a time and will wait until the draw is made before setting their goals in Europe, however, without Tarkowski it’s extremely unlikely they will advance from the group stages.
Burnley managed to deal with the departure of Michael Keane without any problems this season, but losing their best central-defender for the second season running would surely be a step too far for Dyche’s side, so the club must do everything in their power to convince Tarkowski to remain at Turf Moor if they wish to impress on the European stage next season.
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