Ben Gibson recently signed up with Norwich City on a permanent basis after completing a loan spell at Carrow Road. The 28-year-old moved to Norfolk for £8-million and brought an end to his nightmarish spell in East Lancashire. Everyone involved felt some benefit to this deal.
Gibson came to Burnley as a man who had been on the cusp of a place in the England squad. That dream died when Middlesbrough dropped down to the Championship and, after playing a season in the second tier with the North Eastern outfit, he was seeking a top-flight revival with the Clarets.
Unfortunately, Gibson had a tough start to life at Turf Moor. In his second start, the centre-back was dismissed after picking up two yellow cards in a fiery Europa League qualifier with Olympiacos. Subsequently, Burnley failed to qualify to the Europa League group stages and Gibson lost a big opportunity to impress his manager.
Sean Dyche was very reluctant to move away from the defensive partnership of James Tarkowski and Ben Mee.
Gibson performed well at Norwich, last season, helping them add some discipline to a defence that had been rather haphazard. Ankle ligament damage prematurely ended Gibson had already made an excellent impression. Part of the loan deal required the Canaries to buy him if they achieved promotion to the Premier League.
The £8-million transfer fee is a good middle-ground agreement for Gibson. It is almost half of the price that Burnley had forked out for him in 2018, however, that is an impressive recoup for a player who had cut all of his ties from the club before the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Clarets have acted quickly this summer, bringing in £12-million Stoke City man Nathan Collins, and the hope will be to avoid a similar situation this time around. Many expect Tarkowski to depart at some point, whether it be this summer or next summer when he is out of contract, and that should allow Collins the opportunity to break into the first eleven over time.
However, Gibson arrived in a summer when many expected Mee to be on his way. The former Manchester City man was entering the final year of his contract but he then signed an extension that made him the highest paid member of the playing squad. Mee's decision to stay made it difficult for Gibson to make a breakthrough and it ultimately made him a spare part.
The situation with Gibson has worked out well for all parties: player, receiver and seller. However, Burnley won't want to make a habit out of making substantial losses on big-money signings.