Sean Dyche feels Burnley’s big challenge in the summer will be how far the club are prepared to relax the purse strings.
The club will kick-off the new season at Premier League level for a fourth-successive term, and fifth in six.
But while Burnley are enjoying the sort of success not seen in these parts since the 1960s and 70s, Dyche has had to do it all on one of the league’s smallest budgets.
He has a bottom three wage bill, while the club’s record signing stands at the £15m paid for Chris Wood in 2017, and Ben Gibson last summer.
The market keeps going north, and while Dyche won’t jeopardise the club’s future, he would like to squeeze every last penny out to try and make his life a little easier.
Asked whether the club will be able to hold onto their better players this summer, he said: “The club’s in a super strong position financially, it’s probably the other side of it, how much are we going to stretch to make sure we’re improving?
“We’ve improved internally, a lot of the players have improved in their performances and their experience and know how etc.
“How can we bolster that, add to that, improve that?
“Regarding people coming for our players, I think we’re very strong, regarding going out and getting other people’s players, that’s something that needs work.
“The market doesn’t care about Burnley’s business model, it doesn’t give two hoots, ‘you do what you want, but if you want anything outside your world, you’re going to have to pay whatever it is’.
“I think that’s the next challenge, for the club to understand it’s going to be very difficult to keep working in the market the way we have, to move forward and be successful.”
Dyche is big on player development, and a number of his players have clearly benefited from their experiences this season.
But, as he looks to supplement his squad, even after the appointment of technical director Mike Rigg in November, he accepts the club’s knowledge of leagues beyond this isle requires improvement, which takes time: “I think we’ve got a bit more depth again, we’re looking to build year on year, we’ve added more layers to the recruitment department, and when that becomes effective...it’s still got to be that situation where you think of players from around the world going for astronomical fees, and then disappearing. You don’t really hear about the disappearing bit, but this club wants the disappearing bit to be them moving on for more, not less.
“That’s always a risk and reward scenario unless you’ve got all the background needed into Europe.
“We’re growing into that, we haven’t got it all, but we are getting more depth to our knowledge, so that hopefully opens up more avenues, but in the meantime we shop in the markets we know and make sure we know the players we’re bringing in.
“We think there’s a balanced chance, they do well for us, then they’re a saleable asset in the future, if and when that’s needed.”
Burnley have already been linked with Chelsea’s Gary Cahill, who will leave Stamford Bridge on a free transfer, while they are expected to go back in for Birmingham City striker Che Adams, who they tried to bring in in January.
Dyche smiled: “It’s already started again, it’s ongoing for us, we look at quality players, we try and keep an eye on the market and try and find the right ones who fit us as a team, and the business model, and the right age, pay scales...it’s not easy, it narrows down your market significantly when you try and tick every box.
“But that’s what we attempt to do here, what the chairman and board want to do.
“It’s always about patience at Burnley, everything takes time.
“The deals you see get done are often big deals, where money almost becomes no object, but that’s not our world.
“Sometimes you have to work, be patient, be diligent, you’re not always first choice - a player might be looking elsewhere.
“It’s not a downside, it’s just being business-minded.”