I’LL REACH TOP– GRAY
£9m man targets Premier League
ANDRE GRAY wants to follow in the footsteps of Danny Ings and fulfil his Premier League dream with Burnley.
The 24-year-old striker has made a £9m move to Turf Moor from Championship rivals Brentford. Gray, who joined the Bees from Luton only last summer, had become one of the Football League’s hottest properties after scoring 18 goals in his first season at Championship level.
Hull City had three bids rejected before the former England C star himself turned down a move to Bristol City.
Gray told The Football League Paper last night a chat with former Brentford boss Mark Warburton confirmed joining Sean Dyche’s Burnley was the right move for his development.
And he is using the example of Ings, who joined Premier League giants Liverpool in July, and another ex-Claret Jay Rodriguez, now at Southampton, as inspiration to push his career into the big time.
“I had a good conversation with my ex-manager Mark Warburton and I think Burnley is the best place for my development,” he told The FLP.
“I’ve still got a lot to learn. It’s not a case of going there and stopping, I want to progress and I want get even better. It’s a case of going there and learning even more.
“And after Burnley’s track record with strikers – Danny Ings and Jay Rodriguez, those kind of players – that’s the path I want to go down.
“I want to do what they’ve done and play in the Premier League – and I want to play for England.This club is the perfect place for me to go and do that.
“The Premier League is the goal and hopefully I can be there next season with Burnley.”
Gray says he is indebted to Brentford for signing him from Luton after he caught their eye with 30 goals that helped the Hatters win the Conference title in 2013-14.
“Brentford gave me a massive chance and I want to thank them,” he added.“Mark Warburton and David Weir got me in there, put unbelievable belief in me and kept faith in me even when I was going through a barren scoring spell.
“It’s because of them I’ve now got the chance to move to a club like Burnley.”
Last week, Burnley manager Sean Dyche had told The Football League Paper that transfer fees and wages in the Champion-ship had become ‘incredible’.
After splashing out a club record £9m to sign Gray on a three-year contract, it seems the Clarets boss has decided that if you can’t beat them, you might as well join them.
Perhaps the fact Burnley had only netted three goals in their opening four matches of the season ahead of yesterday’s Championship clash against, ironically, Brentford, persuaded ex-Watford boss Dyche that it was necessary to swoop for Gray.
The signing continues a meteoric rise for the 24-year-old Wolverhampton-born striker. After playing for Shrewsbury and Hinckley United, it was at Luton that Gray came to prominence.
The speedy striker netted 30 goals in 2013-14 and was a key figure as Luton won the Conference. Last summer, he stepped up three levels to the Championship with Brentford, but continued to score. He struck 18 times as MarkWarburton’s Bees made the play-offs.
This term, Gray has already netted two in two games – against Ipswich and Bristol City.
Hull were reported to have had three bids rejected, while the striker himself turned down a move to Bristol City before deciding Turf Moor was to be his new home.
Dyche said: “There is a rawness, a hunger and a great desire from him to continue his education and go even further, and we intend that to be with us.”
AMBITIOUS: Andre Gray
PROLIFIC: Andre Gray in his Brentford days