Date: 4th January 2012 at 8:30am
Written by:

With the January 2012 Transfer Window only four days old, we have already completed our first bit of business following the excellent news yesterday that the club had signed former Manchester City loan right back, Kieran Trippier on a permanent deal . Trippier penned a 3.5 year contract for an undisclosed fee and according to the Manchester City Official site Ben Mee could be the next to sign-up permanently at Turf Moor.

What else can we expect before the window closes? Will we be able to hold on to all our key players, especially Jay Rodriguez? How many new faces will arrive at Turf Moor and will any be defenders? What will happen to our remaining loan players including Sam Vokes as well as Ben Mee? There are also a number of our squad players with contracts about to expire either at the end of this season or in 2013. Will we be looking to cash in on some of those players before they leave for free on a Bosman? Of course, nobody in the public arena and media world really have the answers to those questions. Only the powers that be at Turf Moor including the gaffer, Eddie Howe will have some idea of their strategy and policy on the transfer front. It will be interesting to see what sort of influence new CEO. Lee Hoos has on the transfer window process and how much money he and Brendan Flood are prepared to release in order to try and bring Eddie Howe`s targets to the club.

Clarets fans can certainly expect some new faces at the club by the end of the January but how many will be funded by additional released funds compared to money coming in from potential player sales? If we are to sell any key players we also need to ensure we get the timing right. Let`s get this over with early if we are to see departures so we will have time to use the money to find potential replacements. With the club currently only three points off a play-offs spot, it is imperative we don`t wreck our promotion chances through sloppy and amateur bargaining in the transfer window.

We certainly do not want to be scurrying around on transfer deadline day desperate to find a replacement with virtually all the quality targets having already been signed up by other clubs. We have certainly fallen foul of that in the past. Michael Ricketts for Ade Akinbiyi? No thanks! Leon Cort anybody?

The early signs with Trippier already on board, look promising and the club seem to have learned a few lessons on that score after the Jack Cork fiasco. Get in early seems to be the key. Burnley fans though might be able to relax this time on transfer window deadline day since it is likely all our business will have been completed by then. Why? The simple fact is we have a game away to Nottingham Forest on the night of Tuesday 31st January so our minds will be occupied on that match with very little time to consider player transfers.

The situation regarding our loan strategy at least seems to have been clarified recently by Eddie Howe. It is not clear whether this strategy has been changed since the start of the season or whether it has always been the intention but Howe is now saying the following:

“In the majority of cases, whenever we take loan players it`s with a view to taking them permanently because I think that`s the best way to use the loan system “

I don`t recall him saying this earlier in the season so you just wonder if there has been a change in policy for the better at the club and perhaps they have realised the opportunity they missed when they could have signed Jack Cork in last January`s window rather than let his season-long loan run to fruition and then lose out to Southampton. I may be totally wrong and perhaps it was always the intention to bring in Trippier and Mee on loan with a view to a permanent deal but they certainly did not give that impression in the summer.

Trippier is already on board and Ben Mee could be next according to the Official Manchester City website so let`s hope we can seal a deal soon. Our on-loan striker from Wolves, Sam Vokes, might also be a similar permanent deal target by Howe but hopefully that won`t be at the expense of Jay Rodriguez going the other way in a part cash-part player exchange deal. Wolves are rumoured to have changed their attention to Bristol City ‘hotshot` striker, Nicky Maynard so Clarets fans might now be able to relax on that score. Vokes loan deal comes to an end on the 15th January so the club will have to move quickly to explore the potential for a permanent deal. His last game could be Middlesbrough away on Saturday 14th January or more likely the FA cup clash against Norwich at Carrow Road this Saturday providing Wolves will allow him to be cup-tied.

So Eddie Howe seems to have least clarified the club`s strategy on loans and it all sounds very positive but what about normal transfer dealing itself? The big question of course is whether we will be able to retain the services of Jay Rodriguez. We have already managed to repel the £6 million bid from Southampton in the summer but will we be able to keep them at bay again? Other clubs, including some in the top flight could also enter the race to sign him and the battle to keep him could prove a hard one to win depending on how much silly money they are prepared to offer. Every player has his price and if bids of £8-10 million start coming in, the club would probably have no option financially but to bite their hands off no matter what effect sadly that has on our promotion chances. I genuinely believe the club want to keep him and will do everything in their power to do so. I also think Jay himself has no real strong desire to leave the club so we shall have to see how things pan out.

Eddie Howe, taking about his transfer hopes this January said just before Christmas:

‘I think there’s a couple of areas we’d like to improve,

‘We have sat down with the board and gone through players and targets.

‘First and foremost we don’t want to lose anybody, that would be a real positive for us, and then hopefully we can add a couple of players to the group we’ve got already.’

What sort of targets could we be after and how many? Well again, Howe gives us all a clue regarding his intentions having said only yesterday:

“We`ve got our eye on a couple but I think they would be young players who hopefully could develop under me,

“With players back fit again I think we`ve got a good squad here.”

The gaffer is also eager to resolve the futures of those players who are in the final 18 months of their contracts at Turf Moor. Seven players will be out of contract by the end of the 2011-12 season and another ten contracts will expire in 2013. He will certainly have his work cut out then to sort all that lot out!

‘I think it’s important we don’t get caught short in terms of contract length,’ Howe recently told the Lancashire Evening Telegraph.

‘We’re trying to build a squad here for the long term and the lads that are nearing the end of their contract – say with 18 months left – it’s important that we look at that and act early, try to keep the squad intact and try to build together.

‘We’ve sat down and talked about that. It’s a case of sitting down with Lee (Hoos) and Brendan (Flood) and the board and making calculated decisions.

‘I’ve made my recommendations and it’s just a case of following that through.’

As usual in these cases all you tend to get are little clues about our transfer intentions but at least so far they have both ‘talked the talk` and in the case of Trippier ‘walked the walk`. Long may it continue, and let`s hope by the end of January we have a powerful squad in place that could continue to perform well and mount a strong challenge for promotion before the season is out.

If we do reach the play-offs and gain promotion, I will have a lot of humble pie to eat but I will thoroughly enjoy scoffing it down despite the calories!

Join The Vital Debate