In the past couple of weeks, Sean Dyche has been talking about pushing Burnley forward. At the same time, reports have linked the long-staying manager with other Premier League clubs. So which one is it?
It was reassuring to here Dyche talking positively about Burnley's future, as reported in LancsLive. He performed miracles on a shoestring budget for many years and has very much made the Clarets a sustainable Premier League outfit.
Eventually, the question of raising the bar was bound to crop up. Burnley have always had the modest aim of beating the drop. The freakishly good 2017-18 campaign could have been the platform to push the club forward.
Finishing seventh and making the qualifying stages for the UEFA Europa League was a remarkable feat. This was the first time that the Clarets had entered a second consecutive top flight season. In hindsight, one might forgive Mike Garlick and company for failing to rise to the upcoming challenge.
One imagines that Garlick was taken aback by the rapid progress of the team. He probably wanted the club to simply retain their Premier League status for a number of years. The owners are pragmatists and there's nothing wrong with that.
A pragmatist will never let the club collapse financially. They may frustrate fans but, in Garlick's case, he clearly cares a lot for the club. Certain owners may throw £100-million on players, get relegated, and leave the club in millions of debt.
This current season would be marking Burnley's fourth in the Premier League.
Dyche deserves the chance to build on what he has built. If Burnley won't let him do that then he has the right to look elsewhere. Nobody could question the job he has done or the legacy that he has created for himself.
LancsLive noted that there had been national reports linking the Burnley manager with a move to Aston Villa and Crystal Palace. However, the same report writes that a move would seem unlikely. Still, whether Dyche would attract the attention of rival Premier League clubs remains to be seen.
His style of football is basic and will not win any plaudits from purists who pander towards a sexy style of passing play. The defence-first approach is much less common than it was in the past.
The Burnley manager also has a varying degree of success when spending money is questionable.
Ben Gibson, Matej Vydra and Robbie Brady all cost eight figure sums but haven't repaid those big investments.
The counter-argument is that Dyche operates within a tight wage structure at Burnley. That structure limits his reach in the transfer market. A player may be available for £15-million but his wage demands may be greater than what the club are willing to offer. That may be why signings are often brought in from the Championship.
Building with Burnley
The next step will be to steadily increase the wage allowance. Ben Mee is currently the highest paid squad member, taking in £55,000-per-week, according to Spotrac. A view may be to push the maximum weekly wage towards £70,000, a figure that would be more aligned with established Premier League outfits.
Making a decision like that could drastically open up the market for Burnley.
It's a risk-reward relationship. Burnley's risk averse style has worked wonders for the club so it is a little uncomfortable to start talking about being overly ambitious with finances. Conversely, Dyche has anchored those conservative successes and is now within his right to want a little more.
Still, Dyche is in a nice position. He is the highest paid member of the club (£70,000-per-week, as reported by The Times), is adored by the the club's supporters and has the respect of his squad. Those comforts would have to be earned all over again if he went to another club.