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Burnley continue to make inroads in the transfer market and their latest addition to the squad comes in the form of right-back Phil Bardsley. The Clarets have signed the 32-year old right-back from Stoke City, for a fee reported to be in the range of £1.5million, on a two-year contract (BBC Sport).
Bardsley becomes the fourth arrival of the summer at the Turf Moor, following the signings of free agent Charlie Taylor, midfielder Jack Cork from Swansea City and forward Jonathan Walters from Stoke City.
The Clarets boss Sean Dyche has been very shrewd in his spending, despite having the money to splurge following the big money sale of Michael Keane to Everton earlier this month. Bardsley too marks another shrewd capture by the club.
The 32-year old defender, a graduate from the Manchester United academy, has been around the Premier League scenes for over a decade now. Bardsley was not able to establish himself in the first-team at United, largely due to the presence of a certain Gary Neville. As a result, he just made 18 appearances for the Red Devils but gained a vast amount of experience from his loan spells with Rangers, Aston Villa, Sheffield United and Burnley too.
He left the club in January 2008 for Sunderland and established himself as a key member of the team immediately and went on to make 200 appearances for the Wearsiders, scoring 11 times. Following his contract expiry with the Black Cats in 2014, he moved to Stoke but saw himself become a squad player with the Potters, rather than being a regular first team member. Last season, Bardsley appeared just 16 times for Mark Hughes’ side and managed to find the back of the net on a solitary occasion – in the EFL Cup encounter against Stevenage FC.
With Matthew Lowton firmly occupying the starting berth at right-back, Burnley did lack a proper backup for the Englishman and signing Bardsley will provide added depth and cover to the position.
Strong and physical, Bardsley can hold his own against attackers. While he may not offer a great deal going forward, he will render a sense of solidity to the backline. A veteran of close to 250 appearances in the Premier League, his volume of experience in English football will be a great asset to the team. The 14-time capped Scottish international is also a natural leader on and off the pitch and with his know-how of the game, he will be able to provide a great deal of valuable input to the younger players in the squad.
Bardsley might not be the most attractive signing, much like the transfer of Jon Walters earlier this summer, but he brings in proven quality and experience, and adds depth to the ranks at the Turf Moor, making him an ideal squad player to have.