Dyche explains why buying from Football League is getting tougher


There was no late flurry of activity last Friday as the January transfer window closed with a whimper and Burnley boss Sean Dyche can tell you why.

The stockpiling of players by billionaire-owned Premier League clubs and also Football League sides who would rather incur points penalties than sell on the cheap made for a quiet winter window.

Manchester United’s capture on Thursday of Portuguese international midfielder Bruno Fernandes for an initial £47million was the month’s biggest deal and pushed gross spending for the window past last year’s January figure of £180m.

However, the final amount recorded was a significant reduction from the £430m spent in 2018.

Tim Bridge, a director with Deloitte’s sports business group, reckons the January spending figure showed a reluctance from top-flight clubs to buy players midway through the season unless they have a very good chance of helping them achieve their goals.

But the view from inside the game may be slightly different. Take the experience of Dyche at Burnley, for example.

He needed a midfielder to bolster his mid-table squad and was eventually able to prise Josh Brownhill away from Bristol City in a player-plus-cash deal valued at £9million

But it was far from easy for the Clarets to get their man and probably only came about because he had a release clause in his contract that would have allowed him to leave Ashton Gate in the summer for a fixed fee of around £7m.

Speaking in early January, Dyche revealed the factors at play when Championship clubs, of which most are under severe Financial Fair Play pressure, were faced with offers for their star players.

“It’s a strange thing in the Championship, there are 14 or so clubs really on the knife edge of Financial Fair Play, but it’s the same argument, they just hold on to their players, they ask for astronomical fees, they don’t want to sell until they get into a situation where almost the League say ‘we’re going to hit you’, and they have to sell,” he said. “Even then they tend to hold on.”

Burnley tried to sign Che Adams from Birmingham City last January, with the Blues unable to replace him due to a transfer embargo. They subsequently held on to the player until the summer when they received around £14m from Southampton.

Dyche added: “We saw that with Birmingham last year, waiting for a player until the end of the season, taking the points deduction and staying up and getting more for the player.”

And trying to sign seemingly unwanted young players from Premier League clubs backed by wealthy sugar daddies has also become increasingly tough.

“They are so financially powerful now that even when you go for one of those young players, the fees they ask for are through the roof,” Dyche told the Burnley Express.

“They don’t need the money – if you’re a billionaire with 50 properties, you don’t need to sell any of them, so someone has to pay you a fortune to get them.

“It’s the same difference, a billionaire with a football club with loads of players – they might have a young player not in the team at the minute, but what’s £5/6/7m to them? It’s not worth it.”