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gray signsThis afternoon, Andre Gray completed his transfer to Watford for a substantial fee and has signed a five year deal with the club who finished one place below us last season in the Premier League.

Burnley have reported that Gray was offered the opportunity to extend his stay at Turf Moor with a new substantially improved contract which was turned down with the player making it clear he would not be looking to renew beyond his current contract which had just one year to run.

The club continued that they took the decision to accept the offer for Gray and will now move forward with their own plans as we go into the Premier League season in three days time.

They did thank Gray for his contribution but there was certainly a stark contrast to the wording compared to that when Michael Keane left recently even though the situations were similar in terms of them having one year remaining on their contracts.

It’s been an ongoing story all summer. Newcastle, West Ham and even his home town club Wolves were heavily linked with him and a move was always a possibility until he signed a new deal although even yesterday it didn’t seem likely that anything would happen this week.

But today has been a different story. Mike Walters, who is well informed with all matters Watford, broke the news that Gray could be on his way there and it just escalated from there with the deal becoming almost a certainty some hours ago.

It seems that substantial fee is around £18 million but how much will other clubs receive? Get West London were suggesting Brentford would receive a good amount but would then have to give some of that to Luton. Luton Town’s chief executive Gary Sweet has confirmed though that they’ll be getting nothing which suggests there might not be a windfall for Brentford either.

The 2015/16 Championship season was only three games old when we signed Andre from Brentford just ahead of the teams meeting at Turf Moor. He made his debut a week later at Bristol City and scored his first Burnley goal on his home debut against Sheffield Wednesday. During that season he scored twice in each of three successive home games and ended 2015 with a hat trick in a 4-0 beating of Bristol City, the club who had tried to sign him just before his move to Burnley.

His goals were certainly a major factor in our title winning season. He bagged 23 goals in 41 league games, scoring the last game of the season at Charlton and he added another nine last season when he made 26 starts and six substitute appearances. He did have a bit of a lean spell at home with his last Turf Moor Premier League goal coming on New Year’s Eve when he scored a hat trick against Sunderland, ending the year as he’d done the previous year.

His detractors will refer to his inability to control a ball, will count the number of times he gets caught offside and will claim he’s not good enough for the Premier League. I’m in the opposite camp with Andre. I think he’s done a fantastic job for us in the last two seasons which have both been successful seasons for our club.

It’s always disappointing when players leave us, particularly those players we would like to stay, but Andre made the decision he didn’t want to be at Burnley, certainly not beyond his contract, and I think we have therefore made the right decision to accept the offer although there is absolutely no doubt that the timing could have been better and it is that, as much as anything, that has upset supporters today.

I don’t think Gray would have been in the starting line up at Chelsea but beyond that there is a real need to strengthen the squad and that undoubtedly will mean the signing of a new striker. With Gray at Burnley I don’t think there was any need for further recruits in that area but that’s changed today.

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