Since the high-profile takeover of Newcastle United, many transfer rumors have been floating around, with the magpies being linked with a plethora of players. The magpies have recently installed Eddie Howe as the man in charge, and are set to undergo a major overhaul. Amongst the players that Newcastle are said to be interested in, is Burnley defender James Tarkowski. is Burnley defender James Tarkowski.
Tarkowski’s contractual situation with Burnley has made him an easy target for transfer speculation. For the past couple of seasons, he has consistently been reported to leave the club. Tarkowski has often been left out by the England manager Gareth Southgate, despite his display of consistency and reliability at the heart of Burnley’s defense.
Before his move to Burnley materialized, Tarkowski was reportedly being scouted by the club since his rise in Oldham. After his move to Burnley occurred, Tarkowski had to initially wait for his chances in the starting XI. Following Michael Keane’s departure to Everton, Tarkowski started to feature prominently in Dyche’s starting XI. In Tarkowski’s first proper season in the Premier League, the Clarets finished seventh and secured European football. In the 2019-20 season, Tarkowski was involved in Burnley’s all 38 league games, helping them register 15 clean sheets in the process. Last season as well, he made 36 appearances in the league, although the Clarets barely survived relegation.
Despite the growing interests from multiple Premier League outfits, Dyche remains confident regarding Tarkowski’s contract situation. In a recent interview, Dyche stated that Tarkowski has become a very rounded professional and that he expects him to be professional and committed. Burnley are currently placed in the relegation zone and have only secured one win from 11 matches. While the Clarets’ starting 11 games point towards an ensuing relegation battle once again this season, Tarkowski has remained one of the few bright sparks at Turf Moor.
Let’s analyze his stats from the current season in order to understand his role in Burnley’s defense.
Tarkowski’s defensive stats are among the very best in the premier league. At 6’1”, Tarkowski is calmness personified in Burnley’s backline. He possesses impressive skill on the ball and displays great technique. This season he ranks highly in terms of defensive duels won, aerial duels won and average interceptions. He has an impressive tackle success rate of 75% this season. In addition, he averages more than 11 recoveries per match. Most of his defensive stats surpass the league median value.
Throughout his time in Burnley, Tarkowski has proved that he is an excellent passer of the ball. In 11 games in the Premier League this season, he has averaged 32.45 passes per match. His low average passing number can be attributed more so to Burnley’s tactics than his passing ability. His pass map indicates the areas of the pitch where he attempts to distribute the ball, with his passes into the opposition’s box carrying the highest threat.
Tarkowski’s heat map indicates the areas of defense where he is most active. His work rate this season has been impressive. He is extremely adept in blocking and stopping the ball from getting into dangerous areas near his half. Tarkowski is also capable of getting a high number of clearances due to his positioning.
Tarkowski’s dominance in the air is once again highlighted in the above chart. In terms of aerial duels won, Tarkowski is placed at fourth in the league, with 46 duels won in 11 matches. His reading of the game is also impressive, as he can anticipate the game well. He can also force his opponents into making mistakes, perhaps an overlooked quality in his game.
With time running out on his contract, Burnley would need to act fast if they want to tie Tarkowski down. His technique with the ball and reliability make him an adept defender for any side in the league. Even though Burnley look set to undergo a relegation battle, Tarkowski nonetheless has been consistent and reliable.