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1617 burnley jeff hendrick 01 100x550Burnley have been chasing Derby County midfielder Jeff Hendrick all summer and have finally got their man, signing him on a three year deal for an undisclosed sum believed to be in excess of £10 million.

The Hendrick speculation started almost as last season ended and it was reported that Derby had turned a number of offers down for the player who impressed for the Republic of Ireland during the Euros in France.

Dubliner Hendrick has spent his entire professional career with the Rams having signed for them at the age of sixteen; he’d previously played for St. Kevin’s Boys. He was just nineteen when he made his Derby debut, coming on as a substitute for Robbie Savage against Burnley, a game that we won 4-2 at Pride Park in April 2011 on a day when all eyes were on another Irish midfielder Chris McCann who was making his return to action after a serious knee injury.

His first six appearances were all from the bench but on 17th August 2011 he got his first start in a 1-0 win at Blackpool when Craig Bryson, a player Burnley pursued two years ago, scored the only goal. His early form saw him linked with Premier League clubs but he opted to sign a long term deal with Derby and he was soon impressing enough to attract the attention of his national side.

He’d already played for the Republic of Ireland at under-15, under-16, under-17 and under-19 level and he made his under-21 debut eight days before his first start for the Rams. By 2013 he was making his full international debut, this in January of that year when Giovanni Trappatoni gave him his first cap in a friendly against Poland.

The 24-year-old has now become a regular in the Ireland squad, taking his total number of caps to 25 in the Euros.

He’s also been very much a key player at Derby and that was a reason they were reluctant to lose him. In the last three seasons, when they’ve had high hopes of reaching the Premier League, he’s played in over 100 of their league games. He also kicked off this season in the first team, playing in their first two league games against Brighton and Barnsley as well as the League Cup win against Grimsby. He dropped out of the side through a hamstring injury but was declared fit to join up with the Republic of Ireland squad alongside his new Burnley team mate Stephen Ward.

Our chase for him seemed to end when Derby turned down a third, or was it a fourth, bid for him and at the beginning of this week, just two days ago, it looked certain that he was about to join Hull when they finally decided to start signing some players. They were looking to sign both Hendrick and Tottenham’s Ryan Mason. They’ve got Mason, but when Burnley moved back in, Hendrick took the opportunity to join the club who have clearly wanted him all summer.

After three failures with Derby in the last three seasons, Hendrick will now have the opportunity to play in the Premier League; he’s now a Burnley player after our summer long battle to get him was completed today, the last day before the transfer window slams shut.

On completing the move, Hendrick said: “The Premier League was a big draw for me and it’s where I aspire to be after the summer I’ve had.

“Burnley did so well last year, going unbeaten for five months, and how much they wanted me this summer was a real positive for me. I know there have been a number of bids and I was sitting there waiting for one to be accepted. I would have preferred it to happen earlier to get to know your team mates and coaching staff a bit more, but I am just thankful it’s done now and I can go away with Ireland knowing my future is settled.

“It’s a little weird signing for a club and not meeting everyone for more than a week, but I am really looking forward to getting back and training with the lads.”

Manager Sean Dyche said: “After a protracted deal, we have got a main target of ours and we welcome Jeff to the club and hope he does well. He is someone who can add to our strength in midfield and he’s a player who is still learning and still developing and is someone who we think can work for us now and in the future.”


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