Dale Stephens: Brighton midfielder explains transfer request
Brighton midfielder Dale Stephens says he will honour his contract, despite having a transfer request rejected by the Championship club on deadline day.
The Seagulls turned down several bids from Premier League side Burnley for the 27-year-old this summer.
Stephens posted on Twitter he had been "reluctant" to submit a transfer request but wanted an opportunity to play in the top flight.
The ex-Charlton man is out of contract at the Amex Stadium next summer.
"The club have been aware for five weeks I wanted to leave to fulfil my ambition of playing in the Premier League," Stephens said in a message to Brighton supporters.
"I'm 27 and recognised this could by my final opportunity to do so, which is why I feel disappointed my chance was taken away.
"I prefer to give you honesty rather than shy away from my actions now the window is closed."
Stephens missed one Championship game for Brighton last season but he has only made two appearances for Chris Hughton's side in the new campaign.
Former Brighton midfielder Warren Aspinall told BBC Sussex:
"All Dale Stephens is trying to do is play at the highest level he can.
"Maybe he can get to the Premier League with Brighton and if not there will be a few takers sniffing around in the summer.
"It is a brave decision from Brighton to waive a supposed £8m fee for him but hopefully it will pay off for the club and the player.
"He is a lad who has always given everything. If he doesn't give it his best shot for Brighton and perform to his highest ability the manager will take him out of the equation."