Premier League side Burnley has confirmed that record signing Ben Gibson is training with his old club Middlesbrough after a difficult 18 months with the Clarets.
The 27-year-old arrived at Burnley from Middlesbrough in the summer of 2018 for a joint-club record $19 million, but the defender has made just six total appearances, including just one in Premier League play. Initially felled by a hernia problem that left him sidelined for the first three months of his Burnley tenure, Gibson has been unable to crack Sean Dyche‘s squad, only making the bench once in the past nine league games.
The club released a statement on Wednesday to say that Gibson had wished to leave the club in January, and with a deal not materializing, he felt it necessary to continue his training elsewhere. “The defender made it clear, in the weeks leading up to the end of the January transfer window, that he wanted to leave Turf Moor to seek regular first team football,” the team wrote in a statement. The club confirmed he remains contracted to Burnley.
Gibson was linked to Watford in the January transfer window, but Sky Sports reported that the Hornets saw a loan deal rejected three different times, with the hold-up being the value of the summer option to buy.
According to Burnley Express beat writer Chris Boden, it is likely that Gibson would have been sent to train with the reserve squad had this opportunity not materialized. Boden also reports that he heard about some “flashpoints” at training that may have led Gibson to wish for a chance to train elsewhere. It is certainly still odd to see a club’s record signing allowed to train elsewhere while still under contract, but given that Gibson is clearly on the outside looking in and with the relationship almost completely broken down, his departure from the club in practice has little effect on the matchday squad.