32-year old Phil Bardsley joins Burnley in £2 million deal

Burnley have raided Stoke City for the second time during pre-season with Phil Bardsley joining Jon Walters at Turf Moor.

A surprise arrival

Former Scotland international Bardsley joins as Sean Dyche bids to bolster his defensive options after Michael Keane's departure earlier in the summer.

Yet the move comes as somewhat of a surprise with Burnley seemingly more in need of a central defender. Charlie Taylor became the fourth senior full-back to be placed on the Turf Moor books last month and Bardsley will have to fight for his place against established first team right-back Matt Lowton as the squad brims with energetic full-backs.

The £2 million transfer that was concluded with a two-year contract offer comes as even more of a turn up for the books after Bardsley signed a new deal with Stoke at the end of last season. Yet the 32-year old brings a wealth of experience as he prepares for his 13th consecutive season in the Premier League.

Fruitful career in red and white

Bardsley made his top flight bow in 2005 with Manchester United after coming through their youth ranks. Battling against Gary Neville for a regular place in the first team, the Scotsman made just 18 appearances as a senior professional in five years at Old Trafford. Loan spells at Royal Antwerp, Rangers, Aston Villa and Sheffield United served to build knowledge of the game, as did a six-game spell at Turf Moor during the 2005-06 Championship campaign.

The defender eventually established himself as a Premier League regular when he joined Sunderland for £850,000 in January 2008. Bardsley made 200 appearances and scored 11 goals in seven seasons before joining Stoke City after his contract expired.

Competing for the number two spot against Glen Johnson for half of his Stoke days, Bardsley played 63 games across three seasons. With his future in the balance, the 13-time Scotland international signed a contract extension in May only to be sold two months later.

"Coming back here is going to be a great challenge"

Bardsley stated his excitement to join a forward looking club. “It’s a club that’s going in the right direction with a fantastic manager and a great group of players which I’m looking forward to being part of."

He also suggested that another new signing played a large role in his decision to join. “I played with Jonny Walters and the brief chat I had with him, he couldn’t speak highly enough of the place."

Yet Bardsley will be hoping for a better return after scoring an own goal in just 38-seconds during his one month spell over a decade ago. He added “there’s still fire in the belly to achieve things in football and what a great chance. Coming back here and playing again at Turf Moor is going to be a great challenge and one I’m looking forward to.