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Bristol City left-back Joe Bryan is a top transfer target for Premier League outfit Burnley ahead of the upcoming season as per the report from Somerset Live). The Clarets are keen on a new left-back to challenge first-choice Stephen Ward and have identified the 23-year old as the right man to bring in.
Bryan had a very good season in the EFL Championship as he finished with a goal and 5 assists, missing out on just two league outings throughout the entire term. He was heralded as one of the best left-sided fullbacks in the second division last season and it wasn’t hard to see why. The report also states that Scottish champions Celtic are also monitoring the fullback along with Middlesbrough.
Amid serious interest from Burnley in the £3million rated defender, let’s take a look at what exactly will he bring to the table.
Born in Bristol on 17 September 1993, Bryan joined the Bristol City academy and progressed through the ranks, before signing his professional contract with the club in 2011. A few months later he was sent out on a short loan spell to Conference side Bath City to aid his development. He made his full debut for City in March 2012 in the Championship. A year later he had another temporary stint with Plymouth Argyle in League Two, before he became a first team regular with his parent club starting from the 2013-14 campaign.
Till date he has accumulated a total of 189 appearances for the club, in which he has managed 14 goals and 26 assists.
A left-back by trade, Bryan can play in advanced positions on the left-flank and can play in the middle of the park as well, as he did on a few occasions for City this past campaign.
Not the tallest at 170cm, Bryan has a strong physical frame, which makes him a force in the aerial duels. Last season he attempted a total of 135 headed duels, winning 56% of them. A dogged customer, the 23-year old is known for his ability to keep his head in the game and read the play.
His tally of 87 interceptions and 90 clearances in the 2016/17 season give a hint of his defensive nous. Bryan is also a strong and smart tackler too, which makes him an all-round defender. A tackle success rate of 76% (126 attempts) last campaign is a good indicator of his tenacity.
While his defensive game is pretty solid and well-rounded, for a full-back to truly excel, the player needs to be a good dribbler of the ball and needs to possess loads of energy, which Bryan does. Last time around, he completed 63 of his 78 attempts to dribble past an opponent (80.7% success). 38 key passes over the course of the season is a decent number for a fullback, indicating his ability to create chances for his teammates.
His pass accuracy is something that needs a bit of work – 69.3% accuracy in his 1241 attempts to find a teammate is a bit of a let down.
Bryan does have two years left on his deal with Bristol City, but with plenty of big clubs circling the defender, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him move in the summer. The pull of Premier League with Burnley may turn out to be a little too hard to turn down. However, Sean Dyche’s side need to act quick if they are to clinch his signature, especially with Scottish champions lurking around the corner.