BURNLEY boss Sean Dyche joked that he would dip into his personal funds if he felt Alex Kacaniklic might be for sale at the end of the season.
It’s highly unlikely that Fulham would consider parting with the winger on a permanent basis, given he has turned out for the Cottagers 19 times this season, and played three internationals for Sweden.
But after giving him his first taste of English football while on loan with Watford last season, Dyche was hopeful of the opportunity to work with him again.
Asked if the move for Kacaniklic had been long in the planning, Dyche said: “About 12 minutes after I got told I was getting the job.”
That was late October.
Kacaniklic was featuring regularly for Fulham in the Premier League – starting most games. But as soon as the Swede came out of the side in the new year, Dyche set to work.
There could be others in the pipeline, with Burnley looking to rebuild a recruitment department that was disassembled in the aftermath of Eddie Howe’s return to Bournemouth.
Kacaniklic is the first player Dyche has been able to bring in since taking charge.
After keeping their season alive with Saturday’s 1-0 win at Charlton, he hopes he is not the last.
“There were three or four players, we haven’t been able to get but I made it clear there were three or four people I felt were important,” said Dyche.
“We’ve been searching. Part of the changes we’ve made, there are many behind the scenes. We’re building a recruitment department that’s in process, so we have to rely on some old contacts as well as that one that’s being built and put together.
“I’m not settling for just doing all right. Doing all right gets you nothing.
“We want that demand and the best people to bring the demand other than the manager and the coaches are the players.”
But Dyche must be mindful of the financial constraints on him and the club.
“A club like Burnley can’t just go throwing money around like some of the big names in the Championship. We have to shop wisely,” he continued.
“Alex is someone who Fulham trusted me to help him develop at Watford, and that trust has probably been paid back by them saying ‘yes, okay, we want him to continue playing’.
“He’s played in the Premier League this season, they want to keep him playing and develop further and they felt me and my staff were people who could help him do that. He’s a very good player but he’s 30 games or so into his career so he’s got more development to come."
“He’s hungry and all credit to him,” added Dyche, who fended off competition from rival clubs to land the young Swede.
“I won’t say who but there were some clubs you would deem bigger than us who were sniffing after him and he’s chosen to come to us because he thinks that will help his development.
“He’s a bright lad. I’ve got to know him quite well and he thinks deeply about his football.
“I’m impressed with him as a person, not just a player.
“It’s early days yet but we’ll see what he can help us build here.”
Kacaniklic is set to make his home debut against Barnsley at Turf Moor tonight, after being thrown straight into the line-up to face Charlton Athletic less than 24 hours after completing his move until the end of the season.
“For his type of style of play that pitch was difficult,” said Dyche.
“But he showed a brightness to him but he’ll get used to the group and react to the group.
“He’s a very good player.
“His weapon is with the ball, his physicality, he’s got good energy, he’s quick and he comes alive on the football pitch.
“He’s quite quiet, looks after himself, you can see he’s in really good shape – he’s lean, he’s fit, he’s agile.
“He’s got that hunger to go and play and develop, and that’s been shown clearly by him coming here.”