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Why Burnley signing this 31-year-old veteran star is a smart move by Dyche to bolster the midfield

Why Burnley must push for the signing of Dale Stephens

According to Sky Sports, Burnley have signed Brighton star Dale Stephens for an undisclosed fee. The Clarets have had a long-standing interest in the midfielder but they were always rebuffed by Brighton. Sean Dyche said that the club have long been interested in Stephens. (h/t Lancs Live)

In 2016, Brighton refused to entertain the six bids for him as well as a transfer request from the player himself. However, they are set to make another attempt to sign Stephens this summer. (h/t Lancs Live)

Profile

Dale Stephens is a 31-year-old English midfielder who plays for Brighton & Hove Albion. He started his career at Bury FC in 2006 and was loaned to Droylsden and Hyde United in 2007. Only featuring 12 times for Bury and deciding to not renew his deal, he moved to Oldham Athletic in 2008. (h/t Transfermarkt)

Dale Stephens is a veteran of over 200 appearances for Brighton (Getty Images)
Dale Stephens is a veteran of over 200 appearances for Brighton (Getty Images)

He had a much more productive spell there where he played 63 times, scored 12 times and assisted 13. During that time, he was sent on loan spells to Rochdale and Southampton. He finally settled in at Charlton Athletic in 2011, making 90 appearances for them in 3 seasons, scoring 10 and assisting 11. (h/t Transfermarkt)

In 2014, he signed for Brighton and has become a veteran for the side. Over 200 appearances, 15 goals and 13 assists have followed since then. (h/t Transfermarkt)

Do Burnley need him?

Burnley look a bit short stacked when it comes to the central midfield area. Jeff Hendrick, who was a regular in the middle of the park, departed for Newcastle on a free transfer (h/t The Sun).

This leaves the likes of Jack Cork, Ashley Westwood and Josh Brownhill as the only options in central midfield for Dyche. Thus, the signing of  Stephens is a huge necessity more than anything.

Jeff Hendrick celebrates after scoring (Getty Images)
Jeff Hendrick left Burnley for Newcastle United (Getty Images)

The Seagulls’ star is a veteran of over 400 games in English football. Capable of playing as a central midfielder and defensive midfielder, Stephens would be a valuable addition to the Burnley midfield.

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Verdict

Burnley need Stephens due to a lot of factors. First of all, to make up the numbers as they can’t afford to go through a league season with just three recognised central midfielders. Secondly, he adds a lot of experience to the side. He also has a knack for scoring the odd goal, which should be another good reason for Burley to go for him.

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