Andre Gray's Burnley exit gives others chance to thrive, says Sean Dyche
By Alice Piper
Last Updated: 10/08/17 6:02pm
Sean Dyche says Andre Gray's departure to Watford creates opportunities for other Burnley players to prove themselves at first-team level, and admitted the level the club operates at is "tough at times".
On Wednesday, Watford announced Gray's arrival for a club-record fee worth to be in the region of £18m, as the former Brentford striker penned a five-year deal to become manager Marco Silva's seventh major summer signing.
Burnley turned down two previous offers from the Hornets before accepting a third offer to sell the forward, and the Clarets boss feels Gray's decision to leave Turf Moor was driven by both professional and personal factors.
"Andre is 26. It is an important stage of his career for him personally and for his life," Dyche said.
"There's still a level that this club operates to and it makes it tough at times, but it is the reality of where this club is at.
"It makes it tough - I've never denied it. It's tough on us to try and keep moving forward."
Gray, who played non-league football with Luton just three years ago, scored 10 goals last season to help Burnley avoid relegation to the Championship with a 16th-place finish.
Asked whether his departure was untimely, Dyche alluded to the fact the club has experienced similar situations, but stressed previous departures have consequently created openings for other players to flourish.
"It happened once before with Charlie Austin, when he moved two days before the season. They gave us an extra day this time," he added.
"That was then the emergence of Sam Vokes and Danny Ings.
"So I think, when these opportunities come around, they are there to be gripped by the players and there are obvious slots around."
Meanwhile, Watford boss Silva feels confident Gray will give his team's strike force the perfect balance, as the 40-year-old prepares for his first season in charge of the club.
The Portuguese resigned as Hull head coach in May after the Tigers were relegated from England's top flight and, ahead of his side's opener against Liverpool at Vicarage Road on Saturday, believes his new signing is a great fit for the squad.
"I know he is a player who wants to come to Watford and that is important as well," said Silva.
"He wants to improve in his career. He is ready to fight for his position in the team.
"We realised in what positions we want to sign new players and, personally, what we think he can do for us.
"It's easy to understand where he is different - he is a different type of player."