This article forms part of our Profit Players feature series, which is where Football Transfer Tavern takes a look at how well a player has fared since being signed or sold, using statistical figures and statements from pundits to prove how good of a deal the club managed to achieve.
Within days of Watford’s relegation from the Premier League, Burnley Express reported that some bookmakers had installed Burnley as favourites to sign Hornets striker Troy Deeney, who had previously played under Clarets manager Sean Dyche at Vicarage Road. If such a transfer is realised, it would not be the first time that a centre-forward has switched between the two clubs.
Back in 2017, Andre Gray made the move in the other direction, swapping Lancashire for Hertfordshire in an £18.5m move (as per BBC), a club record for Watford. A return of nine goals upon Burnley’s return to the Premier League in 2016/17, following on from 23 in their Championship-winning campaign the previous summer, prompted the Hornets to pay big bucks for the Wolverhampton native.
How did Andre Gray do after being sold by Burnley?
The Clarets were evidently taking a risk in selling a proven goal-scorer but the club’s decision would be vindicated within a few months. While Dyche led his team to seventh in the 2017/18 Premier League, thus bringing European football to Turf Moor, Gray managed just five goals in 31 league games as Watford finished 14th.
His tally improved to nine in all competitions the following season, including two goals in the Hornets’ run to the FA Cup final, but the 29-year-old had a miserable 2019/20 campaign at Vicarage Road. He found the net just twice as Watford plummeted out of the top flight, making just seven league starts and enduring a barren streak in front of goal which dates back to last November (as per TransferMarkt). Back at his alma mater, Chris Wood and Jay Rodriguez plundered 25 goals between them this term.
Burnley got tremendous value from Andre Gray and made a huge profit on selling him
Burnley signed Gray for what was then a club record £9m from Brentford back in 2015 (as per BBC), a move which worked wonders for him and the Clarets. They more than doubled their money on him with the sale to Watford, for whom he has scored just 16 times in 94 appearances – less than half of his 33-goal tally at Turf Moor inside 78 games at the Lancashire club.
Were Burnley right to sell Andre Gray?
To put it another way, he scored nearly 50% more goals in Burnley’s last promotion-winning season alone than he has managed in three years so far at Watford. The fortunes of both Gray and the Hornets have nosedived since his move to Vicarage Road in 2017, a piece of business which in hindsight looks like a masterstroke from the Clarets.
Burnley fans, were you disappointed when Gray was sold in 2017? Do you think history has proven that it was the right decision? Comment below with your views!
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