Scout report: The players Burnley should sign to ensure Premier League survival
Burnley secured their Premier League status in thrilling fashion, joining the 101-point club with Vincent Kompany at the helm.
However, the Clarets’ squad included a number of loan recruits, who could command significant fees this summer.
Replacements will be needed at Turf Moor, alongside a degree of strengthening across the board.
So, who should the Lancashire outfit add to their squad in the coming months? We have taken a dive into Twenty3’s Toolbox to find out.
Viktor Gyökeres (Coventry City)
Jay Rodriguez and Ashley Barnes have typically led the line for Burnley this term — the former scoring 10 and the latter six.
Barnes is set to leave with his contract coming to an end next month, and loanee Wout Weghorst could also be on the move, leaving Rodriguez and a returning Michael Obafemi.
Using the Discover Rating Search tool, we searched for a frontman to bring into the Clarets’ dressing room.
Attributes-wise, we prioritised goals, shots on target, final third passes, dribbles completed and aerial duels, leading to a recommendation of Coventry City’s Viktor Gyökeres.
The Swedish striker is set for a Championship play-off semi-final showdown with Middlebrough tonight, but — should his team fail to reach the Premier League — he could be on the move.
Many will be familiar with the 24-year-old, who has scored 21 goals and assisted eight in the second tier this season.
Gyökeres gets into dangerous positions with and without the ball — averaging 2.75 shots, 4.36 successful dribbles and 5.24 touches in the opposition box per 90 minutes.
Not only would he bring clinical finishing but creativity, too, having completed 0.76 key passes and registered 1.43 shot assists per 90.
Some may question whether the 13-cap international can make the step up. But after two consecutive prolific seasons, now looks to be the perfect time for him to make the jump.
Ollie Watkins and Ivan Toney have seamlessly moved between England’s top two divisions — Gyökeres could well follow suit.
Harvey Barnes (Leicester City)
One of Burnley’s many standout performers this season was Nathan Tella. The Southampton loanee was dynamite in the Championship, scoring 17 and assisting four.
However, with the Saints dropping into the second tier, they may be keen to hold onto his services next term, as they bid to bounce back at the first time of asking.
Plan A would, of course, be to make the move permanent. But if that is not possible, a replacement will be required.
Discover’s Similarity Search tool finds players that have registered comparable numerical outputs this season, from across Europe’s top five leagues.
With a focus placed on goals, Harvey Barnes was suggested as the ultimate alternative to Tella.
Leicester City’s left-sided forward has enjoyed an impressive season, despite the struggling Foxes being on the brink of relegation.
The 25-year-old has scored 12 and assisted one in the Premier League, illustrating his elite finishing ability.
His close-control dribbling is notable, too, having completed 68 of his 158 take-on attempts, while also managing an eye-catching 101 progressive runs — which ranks fifth in the league.
Importantly, he consistently gets into the area and into shooting positions, registering 111 touches in the opposition box and attempting 67 shots.
Barnes has also had to do plenty of defending for Leicester, and leads from the front in that regard. He has won 27 loose balls, completed 81 ball recoveries and made 62 interceptions this term.
Should the Clarets miss out on Tella’s services, Barnes would be a Premier League-proven option to bring to Turf Moor.
Ellyes Skhiri (FC Köln)
The next position we identified is another midfielder to sit beside the outstanding Josh Cullen — someone who is comfortable in possession but also strong defensively.
Using the Discover Rating Search, we prioritised a player who is effective with the ball at his feet and able to pass efficiently, while also being a combative presence in the centre of the park.
The most realistic option was FC Köln’s Ellyes Skhiri, given a rating of 74%. The Tunisian midfield general has clocked up 2,870 minutes of Bundesliga football this term.
Notably, he has averaged 11.2 successful defensive actions, 6.87 interceptions and 3.95 defensive duels won per 90.
He is secure in possession, managing a risk-averse 0.34 dangerous ball losses in his own half per 90, while completing 1,375 passes and 125 of his 160 attacking third pass attempts.
At 28 years old, Skhiri has plenty of experience of playing at a high level and — with a contract running into its final year — could be the perfect pick-up for Kompany.
Adrien Truffert (Rennes)
Another key performer for the Clarets has been Chelsea loanee Ian Maatsen.
However, the Blues may want to hold onto the prodigious youngster, leaving Burnley in need of some cover in the full-back department.
Discover’s Similarity Search tool found a number of players who have had comparable outputs this term, from across Europe’s top five leagues.
One of the best matches was Rennes’ Adrien Truffert, who had a similarity rating of 98%.
The 21-year-old is a slightly taller profile than Maatsen, but has put up some impressive numbers.
Going forward, he is a powerful dribbler and accurate at crossing, recording 0.79 shot assists, 0.85 completed crosses, and 0.96 dribbles completed per 90. That has amounted to a goal contributions total of four assists.
Truffert has been equally strong defensively, winning more aerial duels than any other Ligue 1 left-back (47 of 74 aerial duels).
He also manages 5.28 interceptions and 9.69 ball recoveries — 3.23 of which came in the opposition’s half — per 90, which ranks second in the French top flight.
The Liège native has already shown that he has the physicality to cope against some of the toughest wingers in Europe, suggesting he would be an exciting signing for Burnley to make this summer.
All the Smart Reports in this article were produced using the Twenty3 Toolbox. For more information, please get in touch below.