Burnley Confirm Signing of Stephens
STEPHENS | Clarets complete deal for midfielder Dale Stephens. ✍️
— Burnley FC (@BurnleyOfficial) September 24, 2020
Stephens joined Brighton in the middle of the 2013-14 season, back when the club were in the Championship. Since then, he has accompanied the Seagulls throughout their journey in the top flight of English football.
The 31-year-old has played at least 30 games in each of the three Premier League seasons since Brighton’s promotion, and he has been a solid if unspectacular contributor to the team. However, his impact on the team was still important, if not he wouldn’t have stayed there for over seven years.
Since Stephens plays predominantly in defensive midfield, he does not get many goals and does not get many assists, but he’s still been a key piece of the puzzle at Brighton. Similar to players like N’Golo Kante and Rodri, he flies under the radar.
But the job he does and has done for this Brighton team is just as important as the flashy attackers who score the goals. A good team always needs a solid foundation, and Stephens helped provide that.
Important Rotation Piece for Burnley
Joining as essentially a free transfer, it is unlikely that Stephens will get a starting role at Burnely. Similar to the job he did for Brighton, Dyche already has club captain Ashley Westwood to call upon for that role.
However, the Burnely style of play is very direct, and involves defending for long stretches. All that running back and forth and closing down spaces is very tiring for defenders and midfielders, which is why having good options of the bench is critical.
Stephens can be that guy, maybe an option off the bench to help protect a lead, or a starter in less high-profile matches. However he plays this season, Burnley will be delighted to get him across the board, and Stephens will be similarly delighted to join the Clarets.
What Was Said?
After putting pen to paper, Stephens said:
“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,” said Bolton-born Stephens, whose early League career came with Bury and Oldham Athletic.
“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.”
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