Blackpool have a clear strategy for the transfer window so far, in snapping up players at the end of their deals from clubs in leagues One and Two. All three signings so far have all been aged between 23-25 too, indicating Neil Critchley is looking for players who are young and hungry to make the step up when joining Blackpool.
We recently took a look at some of the best up-and-coming prospects from League Two and tried to identify players who were young and ready to make the jump. One thing we didn’t mention then was the desire of the individuals in the question. In each of the players Blackpool have recently signed, the common theme throughout has been the mention of joining an ‘exciting project’. Every single signing seems to be on-board with what Simon Sadler, Critchley and the board are trying to achieve. It’s genuinely refreshing to see new signings that are not only coming into the peak of their careers rather than the end, but are also happy, committed and embracing the challenge of playing for Pool.
Change in strategy
Blackpool FC used to be a place for players to rejuvenate their careers in order to get a move elsewhere, or for players who were just there to take a pay cheque. Think Earnshaw, Fuller, Chopra et al. Long gone are the days of Blackpool signing ‘has beens’. These days there is a plan and a clear focus to achieve the ultimate goal of promotion to the Championship, and not only to do that, but with a clear identity under Critchley too.
In uncertain times, Blackpool are becoming the first choice for many in transfer battles, and it’s something that takes time to get used to for us long suffering supporters. Under the previous regime Blackpool would’ve struggled no-end in the current climate; you’d imagine there’d be media stories about unpaid players and starting the season without a full squad. Luckily we are in a different stage of progress.
The most recent signing in Oliver Šarkić emulates what Critchley is looking for in his players. The fact that Critchley has tracked the progress of the midfielder since he was 17 shows the approach the club is trying to take. To take a player from a divisional rival in Burton Albion is also a new one for Pool fans – let’s not forget that even under Ian Holloway we struggled to allure the likes of Charlie Austin and Jamie Vardy. Taking players from Burton, Swindon and Leyton Orient is something a club like Blackpool should always have been doing, but now we are finally starting to do it. There are similarities with Liverpool’s transfer activity in recent years, in signing players who will go straight into the starting XI rather than making up the numbers in the squad. There is no room for second best choices.
Not long ago, Pool were linked with the twin brother of Oliver, Matiji the Goalkeeper that plays for Aston Villas U23 side, as reported by The Gazette.
Background and Stats
Šarkić has quite the CV for a man from Grimsby. He came up the ranks through the Anderlecht Youth Team, before spending time with Benfica B, Leeds and most recently Burton Albion. He’s an attacking midfielder that has made 28 appearances in League One, scoring 3 goals and assisting 4. He looks like an exciting player with the ability to shoot as well as find the key pass. See the recent showreel that Blackpool FC have shared on Twitter for more of an insight!
What the Albion Fans are Saying:
Shame to see Oliver Šarkić move on. Missing out on a quality young winger as he moves to #BlackpoolFC instead. Could prove a really good move for him and #UTMP. #EFL
He seems to have a pretty sweet left foot, some lovely combination play with Liam Boyce at times last season – especially MK away.
Burton Albion FC@burtonalbionfc
Thank you for your efforts during your time with us @sarkic10! All the best @BlackpoolFC and for the future!
To have made three signings at this stage indicates we’re trying to get our deals done early and shape the squad from the start of preseason. That’s a positive commitment from Sadler in the unprecedented times, where a lot of clubs are struggling to stay afloat rather than look forwards. The board also seems to be looking to the future and having a consistent squad season in, season out, and each of the new men join on two-year deals with the option of a third. The fact that all of these players are of the ‘right age’ at 23-25 is exciting to see how they will develop. This may mean we need to temper expectations early on in the season and we shouldn’t expect instant results when the season does eventually start – so let’s try and be patient. The fact that the club are planning for longevity is so positive and it finally seems we have a professionally run club under impeccable management from the top. Something also worth highlighting is the fact the players genuinely look happy to be here! That goes a long way with the fans as a first impression and we’re simply loving the business we’ve done so far.
The future’s bright… the future’s tangerine.
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©image credit – Blackpool F.C,