MLS Insider: Tom Bogert

Official: Charlotte FC sign Burnley midfielder Ashley Westwood

Ashley Westwood

UPDATE (Jan. 7) Ashley Westwood's move from English second-tier side Burnley to MLS is now official, with Charlotte FC announcing Saturday they've signed the midfielder on a free transfer.

The 32-year-old's deal runs through the 2024 season with a club option for 2025.

"Ashley is a versatile, hard-working midfielder who comes to Charlotte after a successful 10-year career in the Premier League, where he has been a pivotal player for both of his clubs," sporting director Zoran Krneta said in a release. "His experience at the highest level will provide valuable leadership in our locker room, and his ability as a set-piece specialist will add quality in a key phase of the game.

"Acquiring a former Premier League player of his quality on a free transfer is a big achievement and demonstrates that players believe in what we are building at Charlotte FC and see the Carolinas as an attractive destination."

Westwood has made 286 career Premier League appearances over 10 total seasons with stints at Burnley and Aston Villa, scoring 12 goals and adding 32 assists.

In the 2018-19 season, during which he made five Europa League appearances, he was named Burnley’s Player of the Year by both his teammates and supporters.

ORIGINAL (Jan. 2) – Charlotte FC have signed English midfielder Ashley Westwood from EFL Championship leaders Burnley, a source tells

TurfCast Podcast, a Burnley FC fan outlet, first reported the talks.

Westwood, 32, has made 286 career English Premier League appearances with Burnley and Aston Villa, including 26 starts during the 2021-22 season before he suffered a fractured ankle in April. He hasn't featured in a competitive game since Burnley got relegated, but has returned to training.

The defensive midfielder will give head coach Christian Lattanzio another option at a light position, alongside Derrick Jones. Jones excelled down the stretch of Charlotte's expansion year when Lattanzio, then in an interim role, inserted him into the starting lineup.

Westwood came through Crewe Alexandra's academy and made his debut there in 2009. He's played in nearly 500 professional games, registering 12 goals and 32 assists during his time in the EPL.

Roster changes

Charlotte have continued to make roster changes heading into year two. They traded up to acquire the No. 1 SuperDraft pick from St. Louis CITY SC and selected defender Hamady Diop, plus are finalizing a deal to sign Argentine forward Enzo Copetti from Racing Club as a Designated Player.

The club has also transferred striker Daniel Rios to Liga MX's Chivas and midfielder Jordy Alcivar to Ecuador's Independiente del Valle.

Last season Charlotte finished ninth in the Eastern Conference with 42 points, missing out on Audi MLS Cup Playoffs qualification. Lattanzio's first full preseason awaits before Charlotte's 2023 season begins when hosting the New England Revolution (7:30 pm ET | MLS Season Pass).