Credit to little old Burnley. With a population of just 73,000, this market town punches well above its weight in the footballing world. For the club to experience as much Premier League football as it does is highly commendable, and they have more than a chance of staying up for the first time in the English top flight. This season is just their third appearance in the Premier League, and of course Premier League survival is the clear priority for the Lancashire club. But with an eight-point cushion between them and the relegation zone, this could be the season that they finally stay up.
Signing Steven Defour was massive for the club, and the fact that they can now attract international players should stand them in good stead for the next couple of seasons. To take on Burnley in FIFA 17’s Career Mode is still a massive job, as you battle the Premier League heavyweights with a limited budget and a lack of technical ability. But many of the Burnley squad of vital skills; Tom Heaton has become a more than reliable goalkeeper, Michael Keane could be the next great English centre half, and Andre Gray has the pace to scare any defence. There is enough there with Burnley to beat the drop and climb the league table.
How you should lineup
Sean Dyche has found stability in the old fashioned 4-4-2 formation, and you should definitely stick with the system when picking your team. Captain Tom Heaton obviously takes his spot in goal, and he has the increasingly reliable Matthew Lowton, Michael Keane, Ben Mee and the on-loan Jon Flanagan in his defence.
In midfield, there is a slight lack of quality, with the Icelandic Johann Berg Gudmundsson joining new signing Jeff Hendrick, star man Steven Defour and Scott Arfield. Andre Gray and Sam Vokes have formed a deadly combination over the past 18 months, and you will be relying on them to get the goals.
On the bench, you should have the experienced Paul Robinson, James Tarkowski, Stephen Ward, Dean Marney, George Boyd, Ashley Barnes and Patrick Bamford.
The Transfer Market
Starting transfer budget: £26 million
Starting wage budget: £64,000
Burnley have a lot of fringe players at the club, with many now way near able to compete in the Premier League. All of Conor Mitchell, Bradley Jackson, Arlen Birch, Taofiq Olomowewe, Jamie Thomas, Freddy Yao, Tony Aghayere and Christian Hill can be sold, and you should look to receive close to £500,000 for all eight of them collectively.
What the team needs
In Premier League terms, £26 million is a very small amount of cash, so it is important that you perform well in a pre-season tournament to get that over £30 million. Midfield is clearly the area that you need to improve, and with central midfielder Jeff Hendrick holding a solid potential of 77, you need to focus on improving your wide midfielders. There are a huge amount of players that fit into both your transfer and wage budgets, but your number one choice has to be Paul-Georges Ntep. The French international is rated at 80 with a potential of 85, and he will be available for around £20 million. It’s a big chunk of your transfer budget, but his £11,000 starting wages make him worth the money. The Stade Rennais left midfielder or winger has 91 acceleration, 91 sprint speed and 86 agility, making him a serious weapon for your side.
Onto the other flank now, and it looks as if Benjamin Moukandjo could be your best bet. The striker is just as good as a right winger, and the Lorient man will cost just £8 million. The Cameroonian has a maxed out rating of 78, which is more than good enough for Burnley, with 91 sprint speed, 90 acceleration and 83 agility. His wages will cost £22,000 per week.
– Michael Krohn-Dehli – Sevilla, Age 33, OVR 82, POT 82, Cost: £17 million, Wage: £36,000
– Salomon Kalou – Hertha Berlin, Age 30, OVR 81, POT 81, Cosy: £12 million, Wage: £25,000
– Alan Kasaev – Lokomotiv Moscow, Age 20, OVR 78, POT 78, Cost: £7 million, Wage: £36,000
– Robert Snodgrass – Hull City, Age 28, OVR 77, POT 77, Cost: £7 million, Wage: £18,000
– Nathan Dyer – Swansea, Age 28, OVR 77, POT 77, Cost: £7 million, Wage: £29,000
With a squad of 33 players, you can certainly afford to send a few of those lower quality players out on loan, providing that they have decent potentials. Aiden O’Neill is the star talent coming through at Burnley, but with a 62 overall rating, he will do well to make just one appearance this season. Send the 17-year-old central midfielder away for the season, to ensure he gets closer to his 76 potential.
Jimmy Dunne and Robbie Leitch, only just make the grade at Burnley, and their loan spells are more to raise their transfer value, as opposed to one day coming into the first team. With starting overalls of 58 and potentials just below 70, giving them two seasons away on loan, will be financially beneficial in the long run.
As Burnley have limited finances, a lot of contracts are coming to an end, so you need to identify quickly which players you want to keep hold of. The likes of George Boyd and Michael Kightly are good enough to stay at the club, but if you bring in two new wide midfielders, their roles suddenly change. With Johann Berg Gudmundsson and Scott Arfield above them in the pecking order and finances being tight, you may lean towards selling them as opposed to giving them fresh deals.
Young starlet Aiden O’Neill is one you will definitely be giving a new contract to due to the Australian’s 76 potential. But the likes of Paul Robinson, Arlen Birch, Taofiq Olomowewe, Tony Aghayere and Christian Hill don’t have futures beyond this season at best and should be released if not sold.
The objectives at Burnley are understandable, the financial scrutiny may affect how much success you will have. The highest order of business is to make sure that the club keeps its head above water financially, and that could mean keeping your salary growth under ten percent and maintaining a healthy profit margin, nearing £100 million.
Domestically, you will be asked to avoid relegation and at least reach the last-32 stage of the FA Cup. What’s more, you may have a long-term goal as well, which could be to finish in mid-table in your second season. Domestic success only has a low priority, so likes Sean Dyche, you could get relegated but still keep your job.
Four your brand exposure goal, it could be that you need to increase the amount of season tickets at Turf Moor by ten percent. This can be achieved by winning regularly, scoring plenty of goals and bringing well-known players to the club. As for youth development, all you will need to do is sign a player to the youth academy in a certain position.
Survival of the fittest
Those financial goals are quite cruel, and there is a chance that you could stay up and lose your job because of them. So it is probably best to hold off from any transfer business until January, and take a look at our best contract expiry signings, so that you can pick some players up for free at the end of the season. But, at the end of the day, Sean Dyche has the same players that you have, and has led them up to mid-table at this halfway point in the season, so it is possible. With the likes of Sunderland, Swansea, Crystal Palace, Hull and Middlesbrough all expected to be in and around the relegation zone at the end of the season, there are more than enough winnable games for you.
Be sure to almost forget about the cup competitions, but if you are sitting pretty both financially and in the form book by the time you do reach the last-32 of the FA Cup, you may as well try and make the semi-finals and get a run out at Wembley. There is still a couple of gems in this Burnley side, and whenever they have competed in the Premier League, they can turn anyone over on their day.
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