Burnley manager Sean Dyche believes Liverpool’s world-record capture of Virgil van Dijk explains why it will be increasingly hard to upset the Premier League’s established order.
Dyche has overseen a season of drastic over-performance at Turf Moor thus far, heading into Saturday’s game at Huddersfield in seventh place while presiding over a budget which sits more comfortably in the bottom three.
The campaign started with victory at Chelsea and there have been draws away at Liverpool, Tottenham and, on Boxing Day, Manchester United.
Earlier this month they even spent a night in the Champions League places following victory over Stoke.
But with Reds boss Jurgen Klopp kicking off the January market with a £75million deal for Van Dijk, the most ever paid for a defender, Dyche expects it to be a major challenge to keep up.
“Nothing is impossible in football but sometimes probability outweighs possibility,” he said.
“The way it is going it is harder and harder. We saw with Leicester it is not impossible, but it is improbable.
“If you have a team like Manchester City spending £100m on three full-backs that is an interesting thing. With Liverpool you have someone spending £75m on a centre-back and there are not many clubs who can compete with that.
“That £75m is probably pushing our transfer budget forever, or very close.
“That’s one player against the history of another club – in the same division. So that’s going to be hard to narrow the gaps on.”
Yet Dyche’s own results this term – coupled with one notable scalp for their next opponents – are an important reminder that while the longer war may be a fruitless one, individual battles are there for the taking.
“If you are buying in the highest end of the market constantly, in any walk of life, there is a fair chance it is going to operate in a higher fashion,” he said.
“But the marvel of the Premier League is you can still have one result. Huddersfield beat Manchester United, so there are random results which occur.”