CLARETS boss Eddie Howe is hoping to tie up a permanent deal for defender Ben Mee following his capture of fellow Manchester City starlet Kieran Trippier.
Howe moved quick in the January transfer window to get his man as interest for the agile defender mounted from other clubs. The 21-year-old, an ever-present for the Clarets this season, made his Turf Moor stay permanent on a three-and-a-half year deal on Tuesday.
“Absolutely delighted with Kieran; he’s been excellent for us this year and has got better and better with every game,” beamed Howe. “Delighted to add him permanently to our squad. It adds real quality. Technically he’s excellent, he’s great at going forward and he’s built up a good understanding with whoever he’s played with and created a number of goals.
“I still think there’s a lot of improvement in him. He’s a highly regarded player in our squad and I know that Manchester City held him in high regard as well. He’s a big part of our plans.”
Howe added: “I think more clubs were getting interested in Kieran not by the week but by the day. We were very keen to get it done as early as we could. I think it’s great that we’ve been able to do it as quickly as we have so full credit to the board for helping us with it.
“If we didn’t make efforts to sign him then I think someone else would have done and we wouldn’t have had him for the second part of the season. It forced our hand a little bit but I didn’t need any persuading. I wanted to get Kieran here from the first couple of times I saw him play.”
And Howe declared that the addition of Mee shouldn’t be too far away after positive discussions between the player and his agent. The 22-year-old, employed in both central and left-sided defensive roles since his arrival on loan from the Etihad Stadium in July, has also found his opportunities with City limited.
“We’re trying on Ben and we shouldn’t be too far away with that,” said Howe. “We’d love to add him to our ranks full-time because I think he’s just got better and better this season. Hopefully we can get that one done.
“We’ve been in discussions with Ben and his agent so hopefully that one’s not too far away. Again I feel he’d be another terrific addition to the squad. He’s a great age, great professional on and off the pitch and someone we’d love to add to our team.”
Howe added: The key thing for us is their attitudes of the pitch as well. Both players are fantastic pros and really care about their football and their careers and are determined to do well for this club. They will be two really good signings for the future of this club.”