Succession planning getting harder, admits Burnley boss Sean Dyche

Sam Vokes of Burnley scores his team's first goal past Nick Pope of Charlton Athletic during the Championship match on May 7, 2016
Sam Vokes of Burnley scores his team's first goal past Nick Pope of Charlton Athletic during the Championship match on May 7, 2016

Burnley's succession planning - a big part of the strides the club have made under Sean Dyche - isn't getting any easier, admits the Clarets boss.

As ever, it is the finances of football which are moving the goalposts, as the club look to the medium and long-term, as well as trying to maintain Premier League football in the here and now.

Back in 2016, after winning the Championship title, the club signed Nick Pope and Johann Berg Gudmundsson from relegated Charlton Athletic for a combined £4m - Pope to develop under Tom Heaton and Paul Robinson, and Iceland international Gudmundsson to feature in the first team squad.

Pope played for the Under 23s in 2016/17, not even making the 18-man squad until late in that season, as Robinson took a step back.

The rest is history, with Pope coming in for the injured Heaton in September 2017, before eventually claiming the number one jersey this summer, with Heaton sold to Aston Villa.

Dyche brought in keeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell from Leeds for £2.5m in the summer along similar lines, but deals like that are getting harder and harder to come by.

He said: “We brought Popey in and he wasn’t involved, he was learning and improving, and the rest is history, Billy (Mercer) is doing great work with all of them.

“He runs the unit and they rub off on each other, and we’ve been successful with that environment.

“Bill oversees it, but the health of the group, them all looking after it, and Popey is the most obvious - he wasn’t figuring and people forget that, ‘he was on the bench’ - no he wasn’t, he wasn’t even figuring the first five months or so, but we explained it to him, similarly with Bailey at the minute, he’s learning, improving, getting sharper and we like what he’s doing as well.

“In the perfect world, you want that development situation, but those players of the past, Popey was £1.5m, Johann like £2.25m - where do you get those players now?

“You ring a team that’s just been relegated like Charlton had, and say we want those two, it would be £15m and who knows how much?

“You just go ‘eh?’, but that’s what they want.

“The days of bargain bargains are few and far between, there’s still the odd one, the odd rough diamond, but it makes it harder."

Dyche still has an eye on those behind the immediate first team picture, and added: “In the ideal world, yes, you want this group almost third in line, all improving, all learning, but in practical terms, if we have to spend £4m on a novice, and sign a first team player for £7m, how do you compute that.

“How much budget do you need to make that right?

“Money is king, particularly in the Premier League."