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With the 2016/17 having ended two weeks ago, it’s been time for the gossip and speculation to get underway and if it were all to be believed we’d have a new team, a new manager and goodness knows what else before we kick off again in August.

The most concerning is the future of manager Sean Dyche. In an interview after the season had finished, chairman Mike Garlick spoke about wanting to keep him for another five years, but the departure of Sam Allardyce from Crystal Palace has triggered Dyche to the top of the betting for the Selhurst Park role.

Garry Monk was the initial favourite but with him expected to replace Steve Agnew at Middlesbrough he’s faded away somewhat and that’s left our manager as the clear favourite. I know that’s only betting but we could do without any uncertainty right now and the sooner Palace appoint someone else the better it will be.

Roy Hodgson seems to be the most likely of the ‘someone else’ group. He’s from Croydon and I think would be a perfect fit for a club who don’t seem to keep their managers for too long.

If the former England manager would be gracious enough to accept the role, that will leave Sean to deal with all the players supposedly leaving. It was eight, I think, at the last count. That’s Tom Heaton who has been attracting Stoke and Everton and central defenders Ben Mee, apparently West Brom bound, and Michael Keane, who is wanted by any number of clubs.

Add to that we’ve got Newcastle interested in both Ashley Barnes and Scott Arfield, Spurs one of the clubs keen on Andre Gray, out of contract George Boyd wanted by Aston Villa and Steven Defour wanting to go anywhere but back to Belgium.

I don’t know what to make of all that but I think it can be said with some certainty that all eight won’t leave. I don’t think anyone would be too surprised if Keane had played his last game for us, although I’m sure we all hope that’s not the case, and I don’t suspect it would be a shock if Defour moved to somewhere other than Belgium.

Boyd is out of contract this summer although the club are keen to keep him but, as for the other five, I’d expect most of them to be with us when the first whistle blows to kick off the 2017/18 season.

Will there be any new signings? I think that’s pretty certain, the last time we kicked off a season with no new players was in 2002 after the collapse of ITV Digital. But who will be coming in?

Once again, speculation doesn’t mean fact, but there have been six links of some interest so far that might be worth taking a look at.

We start with Barnsley’s defensive pairing of Marc Roberts and Andy Yiadom. The Roberts link is the longest standing having initially surfaced during the January window. The 26-year-old central defender has been at his home town club Barnsley for two years since signing from Halifax and was a regular last season when he started 40 of their league games.

Roberts’ team mate Yiadom has been with the Tykes for just a year having previously been with Barnet for four years. London born, he’s a Ghanaian international who is best in the right-back position. He settled in well at Barnsley last season, making 31 league starts before a shoulder injury in the home draw against Sheffield Wednesday on 1st April, which required surgery, brought his season to an end. He’s also, according to press speculation, interesting both Swansea and Derby.

More intriguing is the link with Reading central defender Liam Moore (top picture). Rated highly, he opted to leave Leicester last summer. Moore, who can also play right-back, had also played for Bradford City, Brentford and Bristol City on loan before Reading stepped in to take him to the Madejski Stadium on a four year deal for a fee believed to be around £1.5 million.

At the time, his new manager Jaap Stam said of him: “Liam is the type of defender who can play high up the pitch, because he has pace and he can cover distances quickly should the opposition play long balls over the top or try to get in behind the back line.

“He is comfortable on the ball and can play it out from the back, he is an aggressive defender and good in one-on-one situations. I’m really pleased he has joined our squad at Reading.”

Joey Barton has gone and it will be some time before Dean Marney is fit again. With all clubs outside Belgium on Defour alert, it does mean Burnley will be surely looking for more new midfield recruits.

Two have been linked so far. The first is Manchester City, and former Leeds and Aston Villa, player Fabian Delph. West Brom and Newcastle are also keen on the 27-year-old England international who has struggled to establish himself at the Etihad since his somewhat controversial move from Villa two summers ago.

Lastly, a player we tried to sign almost a decade ago. In January 2008 we tried to bring in Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Glenn Whelan but he moved to Stoke and has gone on to play almost 300 league games for them. Now 30, he would take our ever growing number of Republic of Ireland internationals to five.

Did I say five? It could even be six with a big interest in Southampton striker Shane Long (bottom picture). He’s another player we have previously wanted. That was back in the summer of 2005 but he was always destined to go with Kevin Doyle to Reading.

Although hes made 32 league appearances for Southampton last season, only ten were starts and he scored just three times. Having been transferred three times for fees in total of over £25 million, it could be he would be keen on a move given he’s unlikely to be first choice any time soon at St. Mary’s.

So there we are – one new manager maybe required, eight players could be gone and six could replace them. A lot of water will pass under the bridge before the new season starts with much of that speculation no more than that, speculation.

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