Arsenal starlet Daniel Ballard has completed a move to Sunderland AFC on a permanent transfer. The Hale End academy product will join the Championship side on a three-year-deal, with the option to extend his contract for another year.
A week ago, the defender was set to join Premier League side Burnley, but the move did not materialise. The player was in for a medical at Turf Moor but the transfer broke down at the last minute as the club and the player failed to agree on the personal terms.
Daniel Ballard joined the Arsenal academy at the age of eight, progressed through the ranks before signing his first professional contract in June 2018. He did not make a single senior appearance for the Gunners, but enjoyed fruitful loan spells away from the Emirates Stadium.
The Northern Ireland international spent time on loan at Swindon Town and Blackpool, before joining Millwall last season on a season-long loan spell. He made 31 league appearances for the Championship side while scoring a solitary goal (stats via Transfermarkt).
Daniel Ballard was not a part of Mikel Arteta’s plans moving forward and therefore, his move to Sunderland should help him revive his career ahead of the 2022/23 season. The Gunners came to the decision to sell the youngster after holding talks with the player’s representatives.
The 22-year-old was attracting interest from several clubs including teams where he had previously played on loan, but it is the Black Cats who managed to secure the defender’s signature. He will move to the Stadium of Light, with manager Alex Neil looking forward to bringing in more quality players that will boost the squad.
✍️ The Northern Ireland international arrives from @Arsenal for an undisclosed fee.
Welcome, @DG_Ballard 👋
— Sunderland AFC (@SunderlandAFC) June 30, 2022
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The centre-back has proved himself multiple times and has received plaudits for his impressive performances. Former Northern Ireland defender Gareth McAuley (via Metro) posted positive reviews about the young lad:
“Daniel just keeps on getting better and better with every game he plays in, especially on the international scene.”
However, Daniel Ballard moving to Sunderland will be a huge blow for the new Burnley manager, Vincent Kompany. The Clarets were looking forth to signing the Arsenal youngster, but will now need to find some other alternatives to bolster their backline, given the club have already lost the services of James Tarkowski and Ben Mee this summer.
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