WAGES are proving the ‘biggest challenge’ in Burnley’s attempts to add to their squad in this transfer window, according to boss Sean Dyche.

And that point was emphasised yesterday with the Clarets set to thwarted in their bid for Belgian midfielder Steven Defour, who has 46 caps for his country.

It is understood an offer was lodged with Anderlecht for the wantaway 28-year-old, who despite being named club captain this summer is still a target for boo boys unhappy he had previously played for Standard Liege, but that Defour is not currently interested in a move to Turf Moor, and has better financial deals on the table from clubs in Qatar.

The Clarets have completed just two permanent signings so far, with Charlton duo Johann Berg Gudmundsson and Nick Pope arriving for £3.6million, but they remain in the market for additions, particularly in central midfield.

Attempts to strengthen have so far ended in frustration, and while Dyche admits he would like more cash to spend in the Premier League, he is also happy to work within the parameters that are set to secure the future of the football club.

Burnley have seen bids rejected for central midfielders Jeff Hendrick, at Derby, and Dale Stephens, at Brighton, but while their Premier League fortune gives them a little more leeway on transfer fees, Dyche added that wages are more problematic.

“Wages are the biggest challenge because they are ongoing costs,” the Clarets chief said.

“If we’ve got an amount for fees, which we have, they’re more or less parked. That investment is also still with you and possibly growing.

“The wages are year on year, and that’s where clubs have got in bad shape. It makes it tough for me, even though I understand it.

“I’m thinking ‘throw everything at it’, but I understand it.”

With the record breaking Premier League TV deal taking affect this season there has been talk of a premium being added to transfer fees when top flight clubs come calling, but Dyche believes that has always been there, but it is continuing to rise due to clubs being prepared to carry more debt.

“There was always a premium for top flight, even when I was a kid at Nottingham Forest, when it wasn’t the Premier League,” he said.

“Forest went in for a player and there was always a few more quid on it because they were second, third at the time in the top level.

“When the Premier League came in, it enhanced it, and when the money went up again, it enhanced it again, and kept going up and up.

“That was a natural occurrence, but now, let’s say some of our market is the Championship - the owners there are worth hundreds of millions.

“It wasn’t always like that, clubs roughly had to be run like a business, still a bit of debt here and there, but over the last five years, clubs are running huge debts, but never stopping and saying it’s time to reel it in.

“This club can’t afford to carry the debt. The owners don’t want to write off massive cheques all the time.”

Dyche is insistent he will only look to recruit players who are going to improve his Turf Moor squad - an outfit that head into the Premier League after going half a season unbeaten in the Championship - and he hopes the financial constraints can continue to be stretched in the boardroom.

“We have to stretch it, because the market is out of our control. We’re not the market leaders, the ones controlling it, we’re adapting to it,” he said.

“So we will have to stretch it at some point, a bit. The whole point of signing players, apart from youngsters to develop, is to better what you have.

“There’s no point signing the same, I don’t see the point. They have to have something that allows them to grow and mature to be better, or they are better at this moment.

“We just got promoted with 23 games unbeaten, so that ain’t half bad. If you’ve got to better the quality in the market, it doesn’t come cheap.”