Vincent Kompany and the rebuild at Burnley

14 June 2022 9 minutes

On the 14th June at midday recently relegated Burnley announced Vincent Kompany as their new manger for the 22/23 campaign. He signs following his first managerial job with Anderlecht and joins The Clarets on a 4 year contract.

Kompany left Manchester City on 19th May 2019 after helping The Citizens secure their second consecutive title and fourth during his time at the club. He has always been seen as a leader and no more so during his time in Manchester where he captained the club for 8 of his 11 seasons, he was always the loudest player on the pitch and would continuously marshal the backline.

After his 11 years in England he joined his boyhood club and first professional team back in his home country, Belgium, as a player/manager. Despite his best efforts he found it difficult balancing the responsibilities of managing and playing and decided to step down from his managerial duties after just four games following their worst start in 20 years (2 draws and 2 losses).

On the 17th August 2020 Kompany announced that he would retire from football and would take up the full-time roll of Anderlecht. His first full season (2020/21) marked a significant improvements, he lead the club to a third place finish meaning they qualified for European football again. The 2021/22 season also saw a marked improvement, although hey still finished 3rd they managed to get 6 more points than the previous season while playing a more attacking style of football where they scored 21 more goals whilst only conceding 2 more.

Style of Play

During Kompany’s first full season in charge he preferred the 4-3-3 formation before changing to a 4-4-2 for the 21/22 campaign. This switch gave them much more control in the middle of pitch while allowing the 2 attacking players to play close together and work off each other in the forward areas.

Although he plays a more free flowing, higher lined 4-4-2 than what Burnley were maybe use to under Sean Dyche the familiarity with formation will help him implement his philosophy with the existing squad.

Burnley Squad

It will be a rather different squad we will see in the Championship in comparison to the 21/22 Premier League team. 9 players are out of contract with several more linked with moves to other clubs. Whiles some of the out of contact players may re-sign as things currently stand at the time of writing this article the below players will be out of contract.

Whats worrying is this is a significant core of their current squad with a combined 189 appearances (12,365 minutes) last season. You also have the likes of Nick Pope, Maxwel Cornet & Wout Weghorst heavily linked with moves away from Turf Moor. While its likely Cornet & Weghorst will definitely move, Burnley are in a position to hold out for a good price as they both have four and three years on their current deals, respectively. However, when it comes to Pope he only has one year left on his contract meaning Burnley may decide to cash in before his deal is up in 2023. The board are rumoured to have stuck a £40m price tag on the England international but in all honesty £20m could be enough to force their hand.

The Rebuild

With so many potential departures Kompany has a huge rebuild project ahead. In a similar fashion to how Frank Lampard tapped into the Chelsea academy during his time at Derby we could see some Manchester CIty youngsters heading towards the Clarets. Below are a few players that they may be interested in from The Sky Blues academy:

Gavin Bazunu – On Loan at Portsmouth last season in league one he seriously impressed, with links to Premier League teams and even abroad he is currently hot property.

Taylor Harwood-Bellis – Although he is currently linked with the likes of Celtic he has already worked under Kompany at Anderlecht during a 6 month loan spell. He was quoted saying – “It was a brilliant experience in Belgium under a manager who helped me in details like body shape, positioning and general defending… It obviously helped that the manager is a legend at Man City who I’ve always looked up to…”

“He always had time to try to make players better and I’ve got no doubt at all that he’ll be very good manager.”

Tommy Doyle – Doyle was on loan at Cardiff during the second half of the season following a return from a 6 month load with Hamburger SV in Germany. His impressive performances earned him a call up to the England U21 squad. He managed 5 goal involvements in 17 starts during the 21/22 campaign in the Championship.

Roméo Lavia – Although still only 18 and with no real first team experience he was at Anderlecht during Kompany’s tenure and if he caught his eye could be a hidden gem waiting to be found!

James McAtee – For anyone remotely interested in the upcoming talent premier league teams are producing you almost certainly will have heard of McAtee. The 19 year old managed 25 goal involvements in 23 appearances in the Premier League 2 and has already managed 7 first-team appearances for The Citizens.

Liam Delap – Just like McAtee, Delap is a highly rated youngster who managed 8 goals and 2 assists in 10 appearances during the 21/22 Premier League 2 campaign. He has also managed some first-team experience making 3 substitute appearances for City.

Cole Palmer – 8 goals in 8 games and 11 first team appearances this season shows his potential and the trust and belief Guardiola has in this talent.

Julián Álvarez – Although maybe a little more far fetched, with the arrival of Haaland and the uncertainty around Jesus’ time at the club Álvarez may be sent out on loan again and after impressing in Argentina with River Plate, City may look to give him his first taste of English football.

We did see towards the end of the season, during Mike Jackson’s short spell, the likes of Bobby Thomas begining to be integrated into the first team set up. It will be interesting to see if any of the Academy players appeal to Kompany and to see how many he looks to integrate into his plans for the upcoming campaign.

We can also see the new boss looking further afield and into the Belgium market where there are some great talents that can be picked up for a fraction of the price. Of course there is the risk they haven’t been tried and tested in the English leagues but for the right price might be a worthwhile risk.

In our opinion the job is a risk for both parties, but more so the club. They are in a rebuild process and signing a manager with very little experience, let alone managing a club in the situation Burnley find themselves in is a very bold move. Of course, football is all about taking risks and if this works out it could be enough to propel Burnley back into the top flight and really kick start Kompany’s managerial career.

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