Robbie Brady is expected to make his Burnley debut in Saturday's Premier League game at Watford and the purchase of the Republic of Ireland international is a show of the club's intent.
Sitting pretty in the top half of the table after a run of five successive victories at home, Brady's arrival means Sean Dyche has now smashed the club's transfer record three times in the past year: the winger follows bank-busting moves for Steven Defour and Jeff Hendrick last summer. Their top target during the January window seemed to be Brady -- the club did move for Robert Snodgrass but lost out to West Ham -- and getting the deal over the line marked a shift from the disappointment of previous windows.
Brady is not just a player who should be good enough to go straight into the side, fitness permitting, as at the age of 25 he should have plenty of development to come. Yet his two previous spells in the top flight ended in back-to-back relegation with Hull City and Norwich City, suggesting that excitement perhaps ought to be tempered.
The man likely to be dropped for Brady is George Boyd, who was also Burnley's most expensive player when he moved to Turf Moor on deadline day in September of 2014. Boyd has racked up over 100 appearances for the Clarets in his three seasons at the club but is out of contract in the summer and the 31-year-old was an obvious candidate to be upgraded.
Brady appears to have all of the attributes of Boyd -- the latter's energy, tenacity and stamina have been key to Dyche's pressing game -- but his extra touch of quality in the final third could make the difference in tight matches, especially away from home where the team has yet to win this season.
A set-piece specialist, Brady is a goal threat with both feet and his versatility is an extra plus-point: Dyche lacks decent cover for left-back Stephen Ward, another Ireland international in the squad. Free-kicks and corners are a clear area where Dyche could yet get more out of his team, with Joey Barton, Johann Gudmundsson and Defour )(as well as Brady) all skilled in this area.
Ward will be on hand to welcome Brady in the dressing room, but it is the new signing's combination with childhood friend Hendrick that is particularly enticing about his arrival.
Brady and Hendrick grew up playing together in school-age teams and have continued their partnership as full Ireland internationals. Dyche could field an all-Ireland trio on the left and the prospect of such interplay between Brady, Hendrick and Ward is mouthwatering. Hendrick helped persuade Brady to join Burnley, so settling in should be no problem at all.
This weekend's trip to Vicarage Road is the first of the Clarets' sequence of away games at clubs in the bottom half of the league, offering a clear opportunity to finally get that first win on the road. While they have lost six straight league games since collecting their only away point of the season with a 0-0 draw at Manchester United, progress has certainly been made of late and Dyche's men were desperately unlucky to lose to a late penalty at Arsenal a fortnight ago.
The Clarets have been on target in their last three away matches, which all ended in narrow 2-1 losses to top-five hosts, but with no disrespect to Watford, they're not in the same class as title hopefuls Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham. Dyche will sense an opportunity for his side.
Defour has operated in an unfamiliar role on the left in recent weeks, but the Belgian limped off in the first half of Tuesday's 1-0 home win against champions Leicester City at Turf Moor and is unavailable due to a hamstring injury. Johan Gudmundsson is fit again and pushing for a start, with Brady also an option if Dyche deems the new boy ready to go straight into the side.
After scoring in two successive matches over the past week, Sam Vokes is also pressing for selection and could partner the in-form Andre Gray in place of Ashley Barnes, who has not scored in his last four Premier League starts. It was the partnership between Vokes and Gray that fired the Clarets to the Championship title last season and they have seven goals each in all competitions this season, compared to Barnes' three; it might be time to reunite the pair at Watford.
A shock victory at the Emirates on Tuesday lifted the pressure on under-fire Walter Mazzarri but Dyche will be keen to pick up a result at the club that sacked him, rather unfairly, in 2012.