Burnley complete signing of Brighton midfielder Dale Stephens
Burnley have completed the signing of Brighton midfielder Dale Stephens.
Stephens will join on a two-year deal for what is believed to be an initial £1m, rising to £2.5m.
Burnley had six offers for the player turned down in 2016, the last in excess of £8m, but Sean Dyche has finally got his man, and he said, after the 2-0 win at former club Millwall in the Carabao Cup third round: "He's a player I've liked historically, he obviously fit with the financial thinking at the minute, but he's a player that we do like, he's an experienced player, I've tried to sign him in the past, and I often have stuck with targets I've managed to get here eventually.“
Stephens, 31, has spent the last three seasons in the Premier League, having played a major role in Brighton getting promoted in 2017, and Dyche spoke of what he will bring to the group: "He brings a calmness, experience, composure, he's been through quite a few managers there so he's had a good experience of different ways of working.
"Some of our players have been under me for a while, but when you bring in a player, they have different ways of working, so he'll enjoy the groupm the way our players are bonded, I think he'll buy into all that, so hopefully he'll do well here.
"We like competitive players, in-house competition, that edge, and he can add to that."
Stephens is looking forward to getting started at his new club: “I’m very happy. It’s probably taken a few more years than expected but I’m happy to get it over the line this week and finally become a Burnley player.
“I’ve been away from the North-West for a while. It’s nice to come back to where the family resides as well.
“But most importantly I’m coming back to a Premier League football club that’s done well in recent years in this league and I’m excited for that challenge.
“I have played against this squad and this team a lot in recent years, so I know the strengths of the club and that’s what’s excited me, to come in and buy into the gaffer’s ideas and the way he works, which is a good pull for me.
“The club finished 10th last year, which is not easy to do. It won’t be easy to get higher than that in the league, but it’s got to be an aim.
“If you’re not improving, you’re going backwards. I’m sure the club as a whole wants to become better and that’s something I want to be part of.”