While Burnley have enjoyed a superb first half of the Premier League campaign which has seen them maintain a place in the top-seven, their squad has been stretched heavily over recent weeks after suffering numerous injuries and suspensions. If the Clarets are to continue their impressive form in 2018, Sean Dyche must bolster his squad in the January transfer window, adding depth to a couple of weak areas and bringing additional quality into the starting eleven.
Weakness on the Wings
After Robbie Brady was ruled out for the rest of the season with a serious knee injury in December, Sean Dyche has been left with just two natural wingers in his squad; Scott Arfield and Johan Berg Gudmunsson. Although he has a few other options that could do a reasonable job on the wing if necessary, including the likes of Jon Walters, Ashley Barnes and Steven Defour, signing a winger that is capable of slotting into the first team should be one of Dyche’s main priorities in January.
If Dyche fails to sign another winger, it could prove costly over the remainder of the season; an injury to Arfield or Gudmunsson could have a severe impact on the quality of the side and therefore their ability to continue to win games in the top-flight. Additionally, questions have been asked over Arfield’s in the Premier League and, while he has made some vital contributions over past years, he is not as much of a creative influence as some of his teammates – an issue that is particularly important in a side that has found the net just 19 times this season.
The Clarets have been linked with Georges-Kevin Nkoudou from Tottenham in a loan deal for the remainder of the season. The young Frenchman would be a good addition to the squad; he possesses great skill and pace and can chip in with goals regularly. While Nkoudou lacks top-flight experience in the top-flight, he is determined to prove himself in the Premier League and would fit into the Burnley dressing room well.
Lack of Cover at Centre-Back
It is no secret that, in captain Ben Mee and James Tarkowski, Burnley have a superb centre-back pairing; the duo has played a crucial role in a defence that has conceded just 19 times this season, keeping 10 clean sheets in the process. However, with the inexperienced Kevin Long as the only other natural centre-back available to Sean Dyche, it seems that the signing of another centre-back would be a smart move to offer further cover to Mee and Tarkowski.
The Clarets have been linked with Nottingham Forest defender Joe Worrall, a promising young talent who could come in as a useful backup option alongside Long. Although he lacks top-flight experience, Worrall could be a good addition to the squad and would benefit largely from the coaching of Dyche, who has seen overseen the vast improvements of centre-backs Mee, Tarkowski and Michael Keane during his time at Turf Moor. Having two natural backup options could be useful to Dyche over the rest of the season if injuries and suspensions were to influence his starting line-up.
Lack of Quality in Attack
Despite having a healthy number of strikers in the squad, scoring has been issue for the Clarets this season who have relied heavily on their tight defence to win matches. While bringing in another striker is not a necessity in the January transfer window, nor will it be at the top of Sean Dyche’s priorities, it could prove to be a very smart move.
Danny Ings has been linked with a return to Turf Moor on a loan deal from Liverpool, after his time at Anfield has been hampered by injury. The forward impressed in the Premier League for Burney, scoring 11 times in the 2014/15 campaign which earned him the opportunity to further his career with a move to Liverpool. A return to Turf Moor could be a good way for Ings to get his back form back, as well as being a good short-term fix to the Clarets’ lack of goals.
Although the Clarets should be very pleased with their current league position, it is now important to press-on and continue to defy the odds in the Premier League, which will require additions to the squad in the January window. While it is often difficult to sign players at this stage of the season, the club is in its best position to attract potential singings in recent history, a feat that Sean Dyche should be commended for, and must now take advantage of.