June 25, 2024

Burnley’s blunders since regaining their Premier League status last summer could certainly fill a large hardcover book.

Their recruitment – over £50 million spent on just Zeki Amdouni, James Trafford, and Aaron Ramsey, with Mike Tresor joining on a £15 million loan-to-buy deal – has been uneven at best, and simply awful at times.

Vincent Kompany’s apparent reluctance to change the possession-heavy gameplan that served the Clarets so well in the Championship – Crystal Palace was the latest to capitalize on a misjudged ball in Burnley’s own half last weekend – appears to be a mistake.

And, in stark contrast to some of the most impressive newly promoted teams of recent years – see Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds and Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United, not to mention Luton Town – Kompany may feel, with the benefit of hindsight, that failing to keep faith with some of last season’s title-winning favourites, replacing them with expensive and often underwhelming outside hires, did a seemingly doomed Burnley side no favours either.

Manuel Benson a forgotten man at Burnley

Connor Roberts, Anass Zaroury, and Aro Muric were pushed to the margins. Ashley Barnes was let go. Manuel Benson, on the other hand, has only played twice since the 1-1 draw with Brighton in mid-December, each time for less than 10 minutes.

In January, there was interest from a Leeds team that eventually signed Roberts from Turf Moor, as well as an ambitious Hull City side that signed Zaroury, Burnley’s other 2022/23 wing wonder (Hull Daily Mail).

HITC Football understands that Benson’s transfer to Southampton fell through on deadline day, with the Saints instead signing David Brooks from neighbors Bournemouth.

 

Burnley: Manuel Benson signs new contract at Turf Moor - BBC Sport

Leeds and Southampton were keen

Given Daniel Farke’s attacking options at Elland Road – Jaiden Anthony, Wilfried Gnonto, and Joel Piroe have struggled to get starts at times – it’s unlikely that Benson would have moved to West Yorkshire and established himself as one of the first names on Leeds’ team sheet.

But, with Kompany indicating last week that Benson has simply not adapted to life in the Premier League – though few in the Burnley squad have – the rarely-seen Belgian could be forgiven for watching Roberts and Zaroury lead the promotion charge at Leeds and Hull with a pang of regret.

“Everybody has had an opportunity to show themselves at this level,” Kompany told BBC Sport when asked about Burnley’s £3.5 million forgotten man.

“The truth is, it’s a level above any other league in the world, and some players adjust fast, while others take a little longer.

“I’m only focused on the collective, that’s the only thing we need right now.”

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