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Clarets legend Payton: Give Eddie transfer funds now
CLARETS legend Andy Payton believes the Championship will be at its strongest this season – and has urged the new board to give manager Eddie Howe the means to make signings sooner rather than later.
With Wolves, Bolton Wanderers, and Blackburn Rovers coming down; wealthy clubs like Charlton Athletic, Huddersfield Town and Sheffield Wednesday – backed by Milan Mandaric – coming up, and foreign owners investing heavily into big city clubs like Leicester and Cardiff, the spending power in the division is set to increase.
The prize at the end of season is greater too, with next year’s play-off final valued as the £120million game – as opposed to £90million this May – thanks to new Premier League television rights.
Although Burnley are operating on a more modest budget this summer, with parachute payments halved to £8million going into their third season after relegation from the top flight, Payton believes new chairmen John Banaszkiewicz and Mike Garlick need to splash some cash this summer to give the club a chance to compete.
“The league is strong this year. There are going to be some big games and some very hard games,” said Payton.
“We can’t afford to wait and see what happens in the market, we need to move quickly.
“They need to try to get someone in as quickly as possible so that the manager can mould the team as quickly as he can.
“We definitely need strengthening in one or two areas, and the sooner the better.”
Payton feels a new striker and goalscoring midfielder should be on Burnley’s wanted list, to make up for the loss of 21-goal top scorer Jay Rodriguez.
So far the club has spent only a fraction of the £7million received from Southampton in the club record sale, with young Mansfield right back Luke O’Neill signing on a two-year deal, worth up to £100,000.
Howe had hoped to be able to make Jason Shackell an early summer addition from Derby County.
But Burnley’s Championship rivals have so far resisted their approaches - with at least one £1million-plus offer turned down.
Cardiff City, backed by Malaysian billionaire Vincent Tan, are now thought to be entering the race for the defender’s signature, which Payton reckons is bad news for Burnley.
“Jason Shackell would be a good signing, but when you hear about teams like Cardiff coming in for him you fear you aren’t going to be able to compete for wages,” he said.
“At the end of a day, it’s a short career, and generally players are going to try to get the best deal for themselves.
“I don’t mind the club being cautious - I love the fact that we’re not £80million in debt - but it would be nice to see a big signing like that come in.
“It’s going to be a tough season, not least because of the local derbies. But if we can keep what we’ve got and make the right additions we could be okay.”
Meanwhile, Payton has been appointed Nigel Coates’ assistant at North West Counties Premier Division side Colne.
The Reds regroup for pre-season training at Holt House on Saturday at 1pm.