June 14, 2024

Arijanet Muric impressed for Burnley last season, but could his place be under threat by a new signing?

Burnley supporters have every right to be excited as they gear up for the return of Premier League football at Turf Moor in August following their rather serene promotion from the Championship.

The Clarets had the best defensive record in the second tier last season, conceding only 35 goals in 46 matches, yet they continue to be linked with a new goalkeeper.

What is the latest with Burnley target Bart Verbruggen?

Anderlecht ‘keeper Verbruggen is no stranger to being linked with a Premier League move, having reportedly been on Manchester United’s radar in the January window and once again this summer.

However, according to Flemish outlet Het Nieuwsblad, Burnley are the frontrunners to sign the 20-year-old and are locked in negotiations with Anderlecht.

It is reported that Burnley’s initial bid of €15m (£13m) was knocked back, but Anderlecht have since informed them Verbruggen is theirs if they hand over €20m (£17m).

The former Netherlands U18 international has five years to run on his existing contract, meaning the Belgian club are under no real pressure to sell this summer.

Is Anderlecht’s Bart Verbruggen an upgrade for Burnley?
Arijanet Muric was between the sticks for 41 of Burnley’s 46 matches last season, with Bailey Peacock-Farrell providing back-up, and he impressed with 17 clean sheets – though that was bettered by Luton Town’s Ethan Horvath (19) and Ben Wilson (20) of Coventry City.

Who is Bart Verbruggen? Man Utd's potential David de Gea successor |  FootballTransfers.com

However, nobody in the Championship could match Muric for goals conceded per 90 minutes last season (0.77), or indeed for percentage of shots saved (76.7%), as per FBref.

Verbruggen was equally as impressive last season in the Belgian First Division – a league that Global Football Rankings puts pretty much on a par with the Championship in terms of quality.

The Dutchman saved 75% of the shots he faced and kept a clean sheet in 47.1% of the games he played, compared to 41.5% for Muric in the Championship.

It was an impressive campaign for the youngster in his first season as a regular, and one in which finished with him being crowned Anderlecht’s Player of the Season.

As team-mate Jan Vertonghen, a man with a vast wealth of Premier League experience, put it recently: “Verbruggen has the potential to become one of the best goalkeepers in Europe.”

Manchester United target Bart Verbruggen has outlined key quality he has  that David de Gea is missing - Manchester Evening News

Bringing in a new goalkeeper may not seem like a priority for Burnley on the face of it, but Verbruggen not only matched Muric in a number of metrics last season – albeit across different leagues – he also outshone him in another important area.

Kompany has transformed Burnley’s style of play since taking charge last season, and Verbruggen is a player clearly comfortable with the ball at his feet, highlighted by his average of 33.8 completed passes per 90 last season (compared to 32.4 for Muric) and his 0.17 key passes (compared to 0.05).

Described as “modest, but very driven and ambitious”, Vertonghen believes it is a no-brainer for any Premier League club to move for a player on his way to the top. With talks seemingly at an advanced stage with Anderlecht, Burnley look set to do just that.

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