Championship - Football: Can Kompany get Burnley up at the first time of asking?

19 June 2022 01:21:00 GMTPlus10
Ben Mee's departure will certainly weaken Burnley

Spending just over a decade as a player at Manchester City, Vincent Kompany marked himself out as one of the finest defenders and captains to ever grace the English game.

The Belgian won four Premier League titles, two FA Cups and four League Cups during his time at City but next season he will face an entirely different challenge.

Now in the dugout rather than on the pitch, new Burnley manager Kompany is tasked with leading the club back to the Premier League after they were relegated to the Championship last season and getting them up at the first time of asking could be a tall order for the former top-flight defender.

Kompany faces challenging transfer window

Pre-season training is set to resume in the coming days for Championship clubs with some players joining up later after the recent international break.

And while getting to know his current squad will be of utmost importance to Kompany, he also faces plenty of dilemmas in the summer transfer window.

Following their 18th-placed finish in the Premier League last season, Burnley, priced at 7.00 to win Championship, will naturally receive parachute payments to soften the blow of dropping down to the second-tier but that may not be enough to help them overhaul the squad.

It is reported that Burnley, who are 3.00 to get promoted, still have to pay back a significant proportion of a £65 million loan this summer, hindering their ability to spend.

And given a handful of key players will need replacing in the coming months, that is far from ideal.

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Exodus of key players leaves Burnley in tricky situation

It is quite natural for a club to lose key players when they drop down a division but Burnley look to have been hit particularly hard following their relegation.

First-choice goalkeeper Nick Pope looks destined to depart this transfer window, meaning veteran Wayne Hennessey could be deployed between the sticks, while Maxwel Cornet is also expected to leave.

It is, however, in defence where Burnley could particularly struggle.

Centre backs James Tarkowski and Ben Mee have been crucial to Burnley's cause for several seasons and when Mee was sidelined for a few months last season, the Clarets suffered.

But both have now left Turf Moor without renewing their contracts, leaving Burnley short of quality in the heart of their defence beyond that of Nathan Collins.

In attack, meanwhile, Wout Weghorst, who arrived for £12 million in January has been vocal about not wanting to drop down to Championship level, despite having only netted twice in 20 Premier League games for the club.

With the World Cup on the horizon at the end of the year, players want to make sure they are plying their trade at the highest level to increase their chances of making their national team squads and that could prove problematic for the Clarets now they are in the Championship.

Still plenty of positives at Turf Moor

It is not all doom and gloom for the Lancashire side, though, and, whilst an immediate return to the Premier League could be beyond the realms of possibility given their financial situation, Kompany is capable of building something exciting.

He already has some management experience under his belt, having led Anderlecht to third spot in Belgium before leaving by mutual consent in May, and he knows the English game well.

Granted, the Championship is a different realm to the Premier League entirely but Kompany showed his excellent man-management skills as a captain and has some strengths to build upon.

At the back, centre back Collins, who is still only 21, has shown real promise since arriving from Stoke City last year and could thrive under the stewardship of one of the Premier League's most successful defenders.

In midfield, meanwhile, Dwight McNeil could wreak havoc for Burnley if they keep hold of him this summer and his ability as a top ball-carrier could be key if possession-play is an important part of Kompany's philosophy.

Of the teams relegated from the Premier League at the end of the 2020/21 season, only Fulham were able to bounce straight back up last term in the Championship and England's second tier is becoming an increasingly competitive division.

But Burnley fans can consider next season as a fresh start and it is most definitely possible to recruit wisely on a shoestring budget.

If the club get that part right in the coming months, Kompany could well be the man to lead Burnley for years to come.

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