Date: 31st December 2008 at 10:36am
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Vital Burnley have now reopened the Rumour Mill forum with the January transfer window openning tomorrow but will it be a bad or good window for the Clarets?

Barry Kilby, celebrating a decade in charge, is certainly no supporter of these artificial transfer windows

Speaking recently to the Lancashire Telegraph he said:

‘It’s ridiculous, it’s just an artificial imposition on the market.

‘If we’re clever it can work in our favour. But I don’t see why we have it.’

Clarets fans are also traditionally wary of these transfer windows. Although often excited by the rumours of new players coming to the Turf, on the other side of the coin, it’s often a time when we are forced to sell our key players. It is not always because we simply need the money either. Player power is all the rage these days and astute agents can often hold clubs to ransom forcing them to sell in the end whether they want to or not.

In recent times, you only have to mention Andy Gray and Kyle Lafferty to show what power these players have via their agents in manipulating the media and forcing the club’s hands.

January windows have not been kind to the Clarets over the last few seasons. Often in a play-offs challenge pre-Christmas, they have been forced to say goodbye to their high-profile players in January.

Andy Gray moved to Charlton for £1.5million last January leaving a bitter taste in the mouths of everyone associated with Burnley FC. Clarets fans can at least laugh now looking at where Charlton are in the league.

‘Would we have wanted to get rid of Andy Gray or Kyle Lafferty? No. But you’d have had a player sulking in a corner, so sometimes you have to sell even though, in your own judgement, you sooner wouldn’t.’ said Kilby

Ade Akinbiyi went to Sheffield United for £1.75m in January 2006 and both Robbie Blake and Richard Chaplow left in January 2005 for Birmingham for £1.25m and West Brom for £1.5m respectively.

At the time, these were big blows to the Clarets fans hopes and probably had an effect leading to lower gates that we are still trying to recover from.

Robbie and Ade at least have returned now but it is debatable whether they have reached the heights they had the first time round.

You could argue all the sales have been good for business but they have also been disastrous for our promotion chances with post-Christmas slump more often or not the outcome.

So what lays ahead this time round?

Already the Premier League Magpies are out, literally in the sense of Newcastle being linked to Chris McCann amongst a number of other Premier League sides.

Chris Eagles is causing a stir and catching the eye of the top flight clubs including West Brom.

Gossip from the Club’s AGM suggests we wont be able to add to our squad unless we can sell some of our fringe players. There are no prizes for guessing some of the obvious candidates. Gabor Kiraly looks set to join Hibernian if the rumours are true, Steve Jones looks another obvious one to move and maybe even Ade Akinbiyi.

However you could also add to that list Berisha and maybe even Mahon and van der Schaaf. None of the players have been able to establish themselves in the Clarets first team on a regular basis and if not loaned out have more often or not found themselves on the bench.

The trouble is we dont know what deals the Club are looking at behind the scenes or how advanced talks might be.

If some of our fringe player deals are well advanced the Club may well be lining up targets that the media pick up as rumours so it’s inevitable these will be debated in the Clarets world and Vital Burnley will of course bring you news of rumours in the media as soon as we get them.

This is all about timing too, if the fringe players go late in the January window or we sell a key player late, by then all our targets may have been gobbled up and we are left with the dregs again or no time to get someone in except loans

I still think if we are in Top 6 by end of January window and there has been no ‘ins’ even worse,no ‘ins’ but ‘outs’ to one or more of our key players then we have botched yer another chance of reaching Nirvana, killed of any chance of increasing gates at Turf Moor and returned the club to ‘Half-a-season Burnley’.

Make or break time for Burnley FC in my opinion.

Although there is an outside chance, Sunderland loan defender, Russell Anderson could recover from his cruciate ligament injury and play before the end of the season, defence is clearly an area that needs to be strengthened in an ideal world.

An injury or suspension to one or more of our back four players could mean we will struggle and Coyle has often had no option but to juggle the pack this season between 4-4-2 and 4-1-4-1 to put out a viable back four. Alexander is probably in a daze by now wondering if he will be at right back, holding midfield or even left back!

Jordan for example is suspended for the next match against QPR in the third round of the FA Cup at Loftus Road this Saturday and Caldwell too after his red card at the Keepmoat. Now we will all be hoping Kalvenes will be fit and he has been out some weeks with a niggly,persistent leg injury.

Recent rumours suggest we might be interested in bringing unsettled Bristol City defender and former Clarets loan player, Bradley Orr to Turf Moor. This would be an ideal signing but do we have to wait until we sell Kiraly or something if the rumour is true?

Interesting times but also worrying times.

We have to hold on to Eagles, McCann and Elliott and of course the Club say they will try to but do they have the bottle to resist a ridiculous mega-offer from one of the Premier League sides in these days of a Worldwide Credit Crunch? The answer is no of course not and we will hear again what a wonderful bit of business this was for the Club as we finish midtable again.

There is no guarantee either that the players and their agents wont pressurize the club into selling a la Gray seduced by lucrative money and Premier League action now rather than possibly with the Clarets if we get promotion or indeed get into to Europe via Wembley.

Oh well, Happy New Year and let’s hope for once it is for the Clarets and we can fend off all the Vultures between tomorrow and the end of January.

Rest assured whatever happens, Vital Burnley will bring you the news via our Rumour Mill articles and of course you can all discuss the gossip in our special Rumour Mill forum by hitting this link:

Clarets Rumour Mill Forum