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1516 burnley turf moor 04Just after last season ended, in fact before last season ended, Burnley’s midfield targets were being widely reported as Brighton’s Dale Stephens and Jeff Hendrick from Derby.

News quickly filtered through that we’d made offers for both players with those offers flatly turned down by their respective clubs. Occasionally there were suggestions that we’d moved on and were looking elsewhere and when Steven Defour arrived from Anderlecht that looked likely, until David Jones left the day after to leave us at square one again in the search for new midfielders.

Two days ago, against one of the Premier League’s top clubs, certainly on the evidence of how they played against us, we ended the game with a central midfield pairing of an 18-year old rookie and a central defender making his Premier League debut.

Since, the news coming from various sources is that some four months on we are still chasing the same two players and still getting the same knock backs.

For Hendrick, it has been suggested by Alan Nixon that we are still hanging in there with Hull, promoted with us last season, wanting to complete the deal today for the Derby midfielder. The Derby Telegraph haven’t even bothered to report any further interest from us; they believe Hendrick will be on his way to Hull.

As for Stephens, reports today in the Brighton Argus are saying that we’ve had yet another offer turned down for him. They are reporting that the latest bid is £5.5 million. I know we are not the richest club in the Premier League but have we not worked it out yet that transfer fees have gone through the roof and get even higher when it reaches panic time (the last few days).

They reckon that a not for sale sign has been slapped on Stephens. I’m not convinced of that; they know he’s going quite clearly because they are not playing him just now. He’s made just two appearances this season and one of those is from the bench.

It’s just past 10 a.m. on Monday 29th August. We now have almost 61 hours remaining in this transfer window. Yes, it looks as though Patrick Bamford is coming in on loan but, unless there is some dramatic work done in those hours, this could be yet another disastrous transfer window for Burnley.

We have constantly been told that it is a difficult window. That I can accept, but not to have strengthened sufficiently at this stage of proceedings is simply not good enough, it’s negligent; to fail in the remaining hours will be nothing short of an absolute disaster unless we feel that a teenager with no experience and a central defender is the answer playing against a midfield which includes the likes of Eden Hazard, N’Golo Kante and Nemanja Matic.

I was asked yesterday if I was still hopeful. “Hoping is the word,” I said, “Hoping, not hopeful.”

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