CLARETS boss Eddie Howe anticipates a “big battle” to hold on to the club’s crown jewels over the summer.
Burnley bring the curtain down on their season at home to Bristol City tomorrow (kick-off 12-30 p.m.), and while the players will be packing their suitcases to recharge their batteries, Howe’s work is only just getting started.
He is eager to add to a promising young squad, but also knows Premier League predators are circling for his star names, with Jay Rodriguez and Kieran Trippier already being linked with big moves.
Howe is realistic enough to accept that every player has his price, but he hopes to restrict the number of outgoings and avoid a similar scenario to last summer, when the turnover of players was far greater than he ideally wanted.
He said: “I think it’s going to be our biggest battle to try to keep the squad together.
“What we’d love to do is add players the other way and not lose anybody.
“Realistically we know that’s going to be quite difficult.
“We need to try to limit who we lose.
“But we’ll have to wait and see.
“A lot of that will be out of our hands really, and it will be a case of making sure we sign the right players to compliment what we have going forward.”
Rodriguez is attracting interest from a number of Premier League sides, while Trippier is believed to have been on Newcastle United’s radar for the last 18 months, and the Magpies are monitoring him, as they await developments on a new contract for current right-back Danny Simpson, which has a year to run.
It is thought Alan Pardew wants to bring in a new right-back regardless of whether Simpson commits his future to Newcastle.
And if he continues to stall over a deal, Pardew could well move for two and get the best fee he can for the former Manchester United man.
Meanwhile, Howe feels the new Financial Fair Play ruling, which the Football League voted to introduce in all three divisions from next season, will benefit the club.
He said: “With the new regulations coming in, I think football is becoming wise to the fact that you have to live within your means and you can only spend what is coming in to the club.
“We’re no different. We’ve been planning for this for some time, so this isn’t something that’s suddenly hit us.
“Hopefully we’re ahead of the pack in terms of what we’re trying to do, and that will benefit us.”
The Championship has voted in favour of bringing in a break-even approach based on the UEFA FFP Regulations, which will be introduced next season on a gradual basis, with sanctions for non-compliance in place from the 2014-15 season, when Championship clubs which record total losses of more than £6m will be hit with a transfer embargo or hefty fine.
Owners of Championship clubs will be allowed to invest £6m next season, then £5m and £3m in subsequent seasons.
Burnley are well down the line in their preparations for the ruling, and Howe added: “I’d like to think it might benefit us in the long-term because our approach to youth development and young players I think fits in well with the new regulations.
“Hopefully we’ll benefit from that long-term.
“But in the short-term, it’s going to be difficult because we’re having to manage down a big wage bill from when we arrived.
“That’s always incredibly difficult, to try to cut the wage bill and produce a successful team.”