Stephen Ward
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Clarets to elbow Albion aside for left back Stephen Ward

| 15.08.2014

Burnley, 11/1 for a top 10 finish, are believed to have hijacked Brighton and Hove Albion’s deal for Wolverhampton Wanderers left back Stephen Ward.

The Republic of Ireland defender has been a top target for the Seagulls since his successful loan spell at the Falmer Stadium last term, with Wolves apparently ready to let the 28-year-old make the move permanent.

It appears all the details were in place, with the fee and wage demands set to be met, before Premier League new boys Burnley stepped in to scupper the transfer.

Clarets coach Sean Dyche is pushing for further recruitment, as he looks to create a squad capable of coping with the rigours of the top flight. Budget Burnley have already acquired six new additions, with Matthew Gilks and Steven Reid both joining on free transfers.

Dyche was keen to stress that, although he wants to bolster the Clarets’ ranks, he is already happy with the squad that secured promotion last season. He stated: “We’re still in the market, we’re still active, and we’re trying and trying, especially on two or three things that are building.

“We want competition, but I made it clear the team last year brought their own competition on with the way they went about their business.”

Dublin-born Ward began his career in Ireland with Bohemians, before switching to Wolves in 2007. The versatile defender can also operate in wide midfield, and has made 222 league appearances in seven seasons for the Midlands club, netting nine times, before being shipped off on loan to Brighton last term.

Ward enjoyed 44 Championship outings for the Sussex side, contributing four goals to their promotion push, and had looked set to solve the Seagulls long-term left back problem.

Wanderers boss Kenny Jackett had even commented on the transfer, saying: “The clubs have agreed and now it’s down to Brighton and the player.
“It is a good move for him, he did well last year, they got into the top six and he was part of it. They have wanted him all along and we have moved on.”

Now Dyche is thought to have offered the experienced international defender, who has 24 caps, the chance of Premier League football, in a last-ditch attempt to lure him to Turf Moor.

The Clarets boss is also tipped to make another overture for Wigan midfielder James McArthur, after a £4m bid for the Scotland international was reportedly rejected by the Lactics.

McArthur, 26, has been a key component for Wigan since 2010, when he joined from Hamilton Academical. The Scotland star has been capped 15 times for his country, and was an integral part of Roberto Martinez’s FA Cup winning squad in 2013.
Having seen former midfield partner James McCarthy secure a switch to Everton last campaign, following Wigan’s relegation, McArthur could understandably be keen to return to the Premier League.

The Glaswegian has made 151 appearances for the northwest outfit, netting 11 times, including 83 appearances in the top-flight, and his experience could prove vital for fresh-faced Burnley, who are odds-on at 8/13 to be relegated.



Holly Thackeray

Holly is a member of the content team, and can often be found on the sports desk writing about favourite topics Serie A and East Asian footballing nations. A recent darts convert, she is also a fully-fledged member of Barney's Army and a proud Leeds-born Manchester United fan.