Sean Dyche has admitted that Burnley may not be able to keep Manchester United target Dwight McNeil at the club, per Goal.
The Sun claimed in November that United are monitoring McNeil ahead of a potential £35m move for him.
The Red Devils released him at age 14, but are now said to be interested in a potential swoop this summer.
Dyche says that Burnley are under no pressure to sell him – they received a fee that could rise to £30m for Michael Keane when he left in 2017 – though he admits that they may not be able to stand in his way if United are persistent in their pursuit.
McNeil has been a key member of Burnley’s squad this season, making 31 appearances in all competitions, scoring two goals and registering five assists.
Dyche said: “There’s a reality when players come in, particularly when we’ve developed them as lower-league players for less money or the likes of Dwight McNeil.
“At some point those players, not all of them, but some of them get to a point where the club will sell them. Just by the natural economics they’re going to go ‘well, OK, what did we bring that player in for and what’s the offer?’. The difference is that offer is now stretched because we don’t actually need the money.
“In the past, we always had to do certain things. Now we don’t have to do them because we’re in a very strong financial position. Keano went and it was a case of we can’t refuse that money. Now we can. That’s the difference, although the basic principle is still there.
“If a player does so, so well and enough big interest comes from the top of the market, the chances are at some point that situation breaks and that player goes. It’s part of the reality of the club, we’re not giants in the Premier League. We can’t pay the wages that other clubs pay and some of the numbers that these players get are astronomical. They’re miles above what we can pay.”
However, he has warned that McNeil will certainly not be leaving on the cheap.
He added: “But I can assure you it will only happen if the numbers are correct. The numbers now in our world are high and we’re in a position to say no, we don’t need to sell anyone.
“So if anyone wants to come for any of our players, they had better have a war chest.”
This is good from Dyche in that he is both accepting the reality of Burnley’s situation and also warning clubs that they will not be able to merely waltz in and pluck McNeil off the shelf.
The 20-year-old has emerged as a genuinely exciting talent and he is an England U21 international.
While he has not yet started scoring goals regularly – he has just five in 58 senior appearances – he gets chalk on his boots and is an out-and-out winger. Currently, he is rated at £18m, per Transfermarkt.
He carries the ball well, though, averaging 2.1 dribbles per game, along with 1.2 shots and 1.5 key passes, per WhoScored. Comparing that to those in the current United squad, no one has more dribbles in the entire squad – Marcus Rashford currently has 2 per match. As for key passes, only Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes are ahead of the Clarets wide man.
Burnley have a jewel on their hands and Dyche is well aware of it; if United want to make him their player, they may have to pay through the nose.