We were able to break the news of Marvin Ekpiteta arriving on a free transfer from the O’s a little earlier than BFC today, much to the delight of our followers – due to an admin slip by the club. Here we take a look at the new signing in more detail, with the correction that he’s primarily a centre back than a full back!
It looks increasingly likely that Ollie Turton will not be agreeing to new terms as there’s been no news coming out of the club since his contract expired last week. We initially thought the new signing might mean the end for him, but after taking a closer look we see that Marvin is primarily a centre back who closely fits with Neil Critchley’s philosophy. He joins on a two-year deal.
Marvin started his professional career with Chelmsford City after coming through the Youth set-up at Oxford United. He has spent the previous two years with club Leyton Orient with whom he won promotion, they finished 14th in League Two this year. Marvin also had a short international spell with both Nigeria U20’s and most recently England C’s in 2018. He has made 74 appearances for the club since 2018 and scored 6 goals, at 24 years old he has his best playing years ahead of him.
Where will he fit in?
Whilst trying not to lazily compare Marvin to recent Blackpool centre halves, it appears Ekpiteta fits very much into the Curtis Tilt mould. Dominant in the air but also comfortable on the ball, you would expect Marvin to thrive under what we expect Critchley’s modern approach to be. Fingers crossed there will be fewer Cruyff turns inside his own 18-yard box…
Despite being right-footed, it appears he is more than suitable to play on the left-hand side of the two. He and Jordan Thorniley can now play on the left side, leaving Ryan Edwards and Ollie Turton – if he signs – to cover on the right. Given the club recently lost Tilt, and the loans of Ben Heneghan and Taylor Moore have expired, Marvin is unlikely to be the only defender the club brings in prior to the 20/21 season.
Ekpiteta does offer that choice of playing both full-back if required and has other attributes that could see him cement his place in this new look Blackpool XI. At 6ft 4 (1.93m) he is up there with the tallest defenders in League One, behind 6ft 5 (1.96m) Oliver Hawkins (Portsmouth). This will hopefully offer aerial dominance for Pool at the back and partnered with his passing ability, should prove to be another smart signing with a potentially large sell-on fee if he impresses over the next couple of years.
In a video tweeted by the club earlier, you can see that while Ekpiteta is strong and quick, he’s also comfortable in possession and likes to come forwards to help build momentum in transition.
The view from the other side…
Orient manager Ross Embleton did not hide his disappointment at losing Marvin, telling the club’s website: “We’re very disappointed to lose any player, but someone like Marv who has been on a successful journey with us in recent times is hard to take”.
“The club did everything in their power to retain Marvin at the club, but ultimately his interests lay elsewhere, and we wish him well in his challenge”.
Fans of the club echoed Embleton’s statement on Twitter.
@Alexanderjrose1: “Fantastic player for us, shame to see him go could’ve seen him and Dan Happe being a partnership for 5-10 years”.
@LindonOrient: “Think he was solid stepped up first season in the league think he get better. Don’t fault him one bit to step up in league one. Would have loved him to continue with the Os but that’s a selfish point all the best @Big_Marvv at your new club”.
@KevlarP18: “Can’t blame him. It’s today’s game. Give everything to him for the player to throw it back in the clubs face. Good Luck at Blackpool.. 👍🏻”.
@Ldpking: “Not good news only decent defender we had & he will go onto at least championship level”.
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©image credit – Blackpool F.C, https://www.blackpoolfc.co.uk/news/2020/july/marvin-ekpiteta-signs-for-the-seasiders/