Burnley are keen on Sunderland centre-back Dan Ballard, reports Alan Nixon.
Ballard, 24, left Arsenal to sign for Sunderland on a permanent deal last summer, snubbing a move to Burnley in the process.
But the Clarets remain keen on Ballard and they could be weighing up a January swoop amid their poor start to the 2023/24 Premier League campaign.
Nixon is reporting on Patreon this morning that Burnley are ‘making checks’ on Ballard but that it would ‘take a big fee’ for the Black Cats to part ways with the Northern Ireland international.
Ballard has played in all 11 of Sunderland’s opening Championship games this season after missing the bulk of last season through injury.
Sunderland lost 4-0 at home to north east rivals Middlesbrough yesterday lunchtime. Despite that, Tony Mowbray’s side remain in 4th place of the Championship table.
Ballard to Burnley?
Ballard was a wanted man in the summer with West Ham having been on his trail.
But he remains at Sunderland, and similar to the situation regarding Clarke who Nixon says is wanted by Brentford, Ballard will no doubt be kept at the club as Sunderland vie for promotion.
With Preston falling off, Sunderland are starting to look like the best of the rest with Leicester City and Ipswich Town currently pulling away at the top of the Championship table.
January could be a very nervy time for Sunderland with Ballard and Clarke just two of the names in demand right now, though the likes of Dan Neil and maybe even Pierre Ekwah could come into transfer headlines.
Sunderland stood firm on Clarke in the summer though, whilst also handing Ballard a new contract, so the pair seem safe for the time being.