Sunderland defender opens up on transfer talks with Burnley boss Vincent Kompany following Arsenal exit
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It was reported at the time a £2m deal had been struck, with the Gunners wanting a sell-on clause and a matching sale clause should they want to buy the player back down the line.
It was also claimed the 23-year-old had failed a medical with the Clarets, although it’s understood this was wide of the mark.
Ultimately the Northern Ireland international ended up signing for Sunderland, while Vincent Kompany instead brought in Luke McNally from Oxford United.
Opening up on his talks with Kompany last summer, Ballard told The Athletic: “He was very complimentary.
“He said it was one of the positions he wanted to nail down and felt I could perform what he wanted to do on the ball.
“Burnley had a great season but I feel that I am a big part of the team.”
Ballard made 22 appearances for the Black Cats this season in a campaign disrupted by a broken foot and latterly a hamstring injury.
The centre-back previously impressed in loan spells with both Blackpool and Millwall before making the permanent move to the Stadium of Light.
Ballard will be lining up in the Championship once again next season after Sunderland lost out in the play-off semi-finals to eventual winners Luton Town.
Nevertheless, it’s been an impressive first season back in the second tier for Tony Mowbray’s side, who will now be hoping to go one better next season.
On what Mowbray brings to his side, Ballard said: "His man management is his big strength. We all feel like he's backing us and he gives us that confidence to play freely.
“The football we played is a really good watch. He knows we've got great technical players and he plays to our strengths.”