Why Burnley reigniting interest in Ben Pearson would bolster their midfield
Back in 2019, a report from The Sun (November 3; Page 61) had claimed that Burnley were weighing up a move for Preston North End midfielder Ben Pearson ahead of the January window. However, a move to Turf Moor never really materialised for the ex-Man United graduate, with the Clarets eventually signing Josh Brownhill from Bristol City to bolster their midfield.
Ben Pearson rose through the youth ranks of Manchester United and represented the Red Devils across various age-groups, also featuring in the UEFA Youth League. However, he never made a competitive appearance for his boyhood club and had his first taste of professional football on loan at Barnsley in League One.
The midfielder completed a permanent move to Preston North End in the Championship in January 2016 after spending 12 months on loan at Barnsley. Pearson quickly established himself as a regular starter at Deepdale and has since blossomed into one of the best defensive midfielders in the second-tier.
The 25-year-old has made 161 appearances for the Lilywhites across all competitions, registering 2 goals and 4 assists in the process. Pearson also represented England across various levels between U-16 and U-20 earlier in his career.
Pearson would add more depth to Burnley’s midfield
Burnley were among the lowest-spending clubs in the Premier League this past summer, with goalkeeper Will Norris and midfielder Dale Stephens the only fresh faces to come through the door at Turf Moor. As a result, Sean Dyche went into the ongoing campaign with an uphill task of steering Burnley to safety with a very stagnant squad.
The Clarets have already been made to pay a heavy price for their lack of activity in the market. Dyche’s side are yet to register a single win from their 7 opening league fixtures so far, accumulating only 2 points in the process. A tally of just 3 goals scored and 12 conceded clearly sums up the Lancashire outfit’s dismal start to the campaign.
Truth be told, Burnley have squad depth issues in several areas across the pitch, starting from the full-back to the midfield and creative department. The Clarets should, therefore, look to freshen up their squad with some fresh recruits in January and central midfield is one area that necessitates immediate attention.
Burnley did sign Dale Stephens from Brighton in the summer but that was only on the back of Jedd Hendrick’s departure to Newcastle on a free transfer. With Jack Cork (31) out of contract next summer and Ashley Westwood (30) also not getting any younger, the Clarets definitely need to line up some younger alternatives with one eye on the future.
Putting things into context, Burnley should make a renewed attempt to sign Ben Pearson from Preston when the market reopens in January. The 25-year-old has been a regular starter in the Championship over the past four seasons and has enough experience to make a seamless transition to the top-flight.
Pearson might not boast an impressive track record of goals and assists but makes up for it with his industry and work rate, as evident from his heat map last season. Those are qualities that Dyche values a lot in his midfielders, meaning the Preston star has what it takes to establish himself as a key player for Burnley in the years to come.
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Ben Pearson is out of contract at Deepdale next summer and is yet to put pen to paper on a new deal. Hence, the door remains open for Burnley to test Preston’s resolve and they can as well fancy their chances of nabbing the midfielder for a knockdown price in January.
The 25-year-old still has his best years ahead of him and a potential deal during the mid-season trading period would surely represent a shrewd piece of business for the Clarets.