Despite conceding fewer goals than Manchester United, Liverpool and Everton, their four fit strikers of Danny Ings, Ashley Barnes, Marvin Sordell and Lukas Jutkiewicz have failed to register a single league goal between them, with the transition from Championship to Premier League football looking increasingly like a step too far for the quartet.
Although Sam Vokes – who formed a formidable partnership with Ings last season – is yet to return from a long-term injury, the pair will find it difficult to replicate their goalscoring exploits in the Championship against vastly superior Premier League opposition.
The Clarets are crying out for an effective centre forward who can provide the goals needed to ensure survival – they could do worse than to look at these five…
A proven goalscorer with a wealth of Premier League experience, landing Bent would certainly be a coup for Burnley. Although he has been reinstated into Paul Lambert’s first-team at Aston Villa after two seasons of exile, the England international will still find opportunities to hold down a spot in the starting eleven hard to come by, with Christian Benteke, Andreas Weimann and Gabriel Agbonlahor all coming before him in the pecking order. A change of scenery after three frankly miserable years at Villa Park could rejuvenate Bent’s flagging career, and a move to Burnley – where he’d instantly become the star striker – would guarantee him first-team football. At 30 years of age, the Clarets would be expected to pay a fraction of the £18 million Villa parted with for his services in 2011, so he should be an affordable option.
The Ivorian followed Roberto Martinez from Wigan Athletic to Everton at the start of last season, but with Romelu Lukaku, Steven Naismith, Kevin Mirallas and Christian Atsu under the books of the Toffees, Kone is another player who may have look elsewhere for regular action. A nasty injury last October which ruled him out for the whole campaign was unfortunate and has prevented him from proving himself at Everton, yet it looks unlikely that he will be given the chance to do so. His 13 goals in 38 appearances during Wigan’s FA Cup-winning campaign was a decent return for a striker in a struggling team which eventually got relegated, so Kone may be a good fit for the Clarets, and he would come at an affordable price.
Although Burnley’s current roster of misfiring strikers have served only to strengthen the widely-held belief that most strikers in the Championship cannot cut it in the Premier League, there are some exceptions, and Rhodes certainly has the potential to be one of them. Still only 24, the Scottish international has been a prolific goalscorer for a number of seasons for Huddersfield Town and now Blackburn Rovers, and it remains a mystery as to why Hull City’s failed attempt at a transfer over the summer was the only sign of interest in the player from the Premier League. The £8 million Blackburn paid for him in 2012 raised eyebrows and his valuation is now likely to be even higher, which may prove to be stumbling block for Burnley. Neverthless, if any Championship-level striker has what it takes to succeed in the Premier League, it is Rhodes, and a hefty transfer fee would likely pay immediate dividends.
The Watford man is another striker currently plying his trade in the Championship who could handle the demands of the Premier League. Strong and physical, Deeney’s seasonal goals-to-game ratio has been on an upward trajectory at Vicarage Road since he arrived in 2010, and at 26 years of age, he still has time to improve even further. With the Hornets currently flying high in the Championship, persuading Deeney to leave promotion chasers for relegation favourites may be a hard sell, but if the fortunes of both clubs change come January, the Watford man could be tempted.
A lack of transfer funds available to Sean Dyche at Turf Moor has been to blame for Burnley’s failure to strengthen their attack, and if the situation remains unchanged in January, the Clarets could head for the loan market as a cheap alternative. Wilson is highly rated by the management at Old Trafford and is regarded by United boss Louis van Gaal as an even brighter prospect than Danny Welbeck, though judging by the stellar frontline that the Red Devils currently possess, the youngster may have to bide his time to break into the first team. A loan switch to Burnley would give Wilson valuable Premier League experience, and the two goals he scored on his Manchester United debut last season against Hull City means that he has more Premier League goals to his name than the four current Burnley strikers combined. The relative proximity of Burnley to Manchester means that there would be no fears of the teenager being unsettled. A temporary switch would be of great benefit to both player and club.