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According to reports from The Sun, Premier League side Burnley are interested in signing Swansea City defender Kyle Bartley, who is currently on loan with EFL Championship outfit Leeds United. The report also claims that Burnley are not the only one looking at the 25-year old, with Bournemouth and Stoke City also in contention.
Burnley have had a fairly decent campaign upon their return to the top-flight this season and look set for another season in the upper echelons. However, they could be losing their best player of the season, Michael Keane at the end of the season. The former Manchester United man has been outstanding at the back for the Clarets and as a result, he has attracted a lot of interest from several bigwigs in England. With Keane’s exit looming large, Burnley have identified Bartley as the man to replace Keane next season.
The 25-year old Bartley has struggled to establish himself at the Liberty Stadium since 2012, having moved from Arsenal. As a result, he found himself moving to the Elland Road on loan at the beginning of this campaign on a temporary deal.
Since joining the Whites, Bartley has grown leaps and bounds and has become a stalwart at the back. Along with Pontus Jansson, the 25-year old Englishman has forged an excellent defensive partnership, helping Leeds to 4th place in the Championship.
Bartley has appeared in 46 games for Leeds across all competitions and has chipped in with 4 goals and 2 assists so far this season. The Englishman has emerged as a leader on the pitch for the Yorkshire based outfit and has often worn the captain’s armband when regular skipper Liam Bridcutt hasn’t been available. So, it isn’t a surprise that Leeds manager Garry Monk, who had played with Bartley at Swansea, is keen on keeping the centre-back at the Elland Road beyond the ongoing season.
But with Burnley coming into the picture, that could prove to be hard, unless Leeds manage to get promoted to the Premier League at the end of the season.
Bartley, this season in the Championship, has averaged a very high 11 defensive actions per game and from 41 appearances, he has effected 432 such actions, that comprise of 328 clearances, 42 blocks and 62 interceptions. His tally of 42 blocks is the second best in the competition for the season. A force in the air, the 25-year old has won 129 of his 205 attempted headed duels this season. He has been equally good in tackles as well and has been comfortable with the ball at his feet too.
An all-round defender with great defensive nous and awareness at the back, Bartley has displayed that he could be a valuable addition to any team that he plays for. Considering that the Englishman will enter the final year of his contract with Swansea at the end of the season, it will make him an even more attractive prospect for Burnley.
The 25-year old has all the aspects of the game that will make him an able replacement for Keane if he leaves in the summer. His leadership qualities at the back will be an added bonus for the Clarets. His contract situation means that he will be available on the cheap, which makes the deal more appealing for Burnley. In all ways, the transfer makes total sense for Sean Dyche’s side and they should go all out to sign Bartley if Keane leaves Turf Moor in the summer.
**All Stats Taken From Squawka.com