As we continue to look at the event’s of the transfer window, we turn to Burnley football club transfer news and the signing of Jon Walters. Burnley paid £3mil for the Republic of Ireland attacking midfielder which, incidentally, is the same amount Stoke paid Ipswich for him 7 years ago.
Position: attacking right-sided midfielder, can also play right-midfield or striker.
Transfer Fee: £3mil
Contract Length: 2 years
2016/17 League Stats: 13 starts (10 sub appearances) 4 goals (2 assists)
Verdict: I probably shouldn’t be surprised by Stoke selling Walters considering his age however I can’t help but be a little. Even considering the new signings of Jese and Choupo-Moting I still feel there could have been room in the Stoke squad for Walters.
Berahino is still a shadow of the player that broke on to the scene in 2014. Sobhi is unproven and yet to fully convince he’s good enough to be a Premiership footballer. Whilst even Diouf hasn’t managed to replicate a good first season with Stoke in recent years, although admittedly he has been played in some less familiar positions. One of Stoke’s star men Shaqiri blows hot and cold far too often as well.
With Walters you always know what you’re going to get. A fully committed, hard-working performance. Technically he has never been the strongest but he’s often made up for that in effort and has risen to the occasion in some important moments. Of his four goals last season, 3 came in games versus Liverpool (home and away) and Chelsea.
It may be that time is catching up with him. His playing time has noticeably decreased the last couple of seasons and rightly or wrongly that would have probably only continued at Stoke. Given his age it’s possible he won’t be able to play every game this season for Burnley either whilst the effectiveness of his work-rate and determination is going to be effected as he gets older. It’s inevitable to a point but his fitness and stamina levels were very high to start with.
Given his character I would be surprised if Walters initiated a move but many clubs are unlikely to want to offer contracts of more than one year to players of Walters’ age so it would be understandable if the security offered by a two year contract offer from Burnley was appealing. Maybe financially Stoke favoured the deal and thought the fee was decent for someone of his age. I expect it’s a bit of everything which got this deal moving.
I’m not convinced he will necessarily see much more game-time at Burnley this season though. Dyche seems to have moved away from his successful 4-4-2 this season, sacrificing a striker for an extra midfielder. Walters is unlikely to get the nod upfront ahead of the likes of Vokes, Wood, Nakhi Wells and even possibly Ashley Barnes as well.
I would expect Walters to be fighting for a place in wide-midfield, particularly on the right. With competition from Gudmundsson and Arfield mainly to contend with. The early signs is that Gudmundsson looks favoured. It is very early though and Walters will get opportunities.
I’m going to recap as many deals as I possibly can but I wanted to make sure I covered Walters because I like him as a player. His work-rate and attitude on the pitch is bettered by few. Most fans appreciate that level of effort regardless of the result. He’s been a bit of an unsung hero and doesn’t get a huge amount of publicity but definitely deserves some acknowledgement.
His career looks to be winding down but I’m sure he can still make some contribution to Burnley over the next couple of seasons. With a bit of form or luck he can quite easily step into the first team picture on a regular basis for the Clarets.
Walters on Football Focus and what’s is like joining a new club:
Essential viewing.. https://t.co/0iopouiD9W
— Burnley FC (@BurnleyOfficial) August 26, 2017
Is Jon Walters a good signing? Let me know below.