Goalkeeper Alex Fojtíček arrives at Blackpool, becoming the eighth signing of the summer, having spent time on trial with us and previously been in Manchester United’s academy through from U18 – U23 youth level.
This deal could to be another underrated signing for us. Alex has looked solid in the trial games he has had with Blackpool, especially his shot stopping. If Maxwell does get injured or go through a sticky patch of form, this man should provide adequate capability as a backup to step up to the challenge.
The Slovakian U19, right footed international joined Manchester United’s youth academy at 16 years old. If there is one thing we know about this academy, it is their ability to develop great goalkeepers – Dean Henderson the latest to come through who impressed in the Premier League for Sheffield United.
The fact that Fojtíček has not made the cut for Manchester United doesn’t necessarily indicate he’s not capable, and hopefully what is their loss will be Blackpool’s gain. There’ve been plenty who haven’t managed to stay at Manchester United’s academy and have been successful at other clubs. Before Manchester United signed Alex, it is believed that Liverpool were also interested, while Aston Villa have also previously been linked – this is perhaps the link to Neil Critchley and therefore Blackpool. It’s positive that we are the chosen club for some of the country’s young talent who aren’t ready at the very top level, which is testament to Critchley and the recruitment team.
He spent last season on loan at Stalybridge Celtic in the Northern Premier League Premier Division, making 40 appearances, so will likely play a part in Blackpool’s u23s initially before getting his chance in the first team. Clearly, Critchley has seen enough potential in him to give him his opportunity.
Alex has been offered a one-year deal with a view to extend to another year, the same as MJ Williams who signed yesterday. This highlights the fact that due to his lack of experience in first-team football, he’s primarily coming in as a backup with a view to getting his chance in cup competitions, therefore presenting a risk-free deal for the club. Blackpool F.C is a business at the end of the day and if it doesn’t work, there’s no commitment to extend it – though it does leave us susceptible if he has a great season and ends up getting snapped up by a team in a higher division – either on a free or a cheap deal.
Players like Alex and MJ will have to earn their contract extensions which surely will increase their work-rate and desire to succeed, as they both come into the peak of their careers over the next 12 months. They both obviously have the raw talents to do well; hopefully they can develop further and become strong assets to the Tangerines. He won’t take up a place in the 22 man squad either, as players under the age of 21 do not count towards the cap, which will surely have been a key reason for this signing.
Shot-stopping is clearly a key asset for Fojtíček, who is also believed to have the capabilities to play out from the back too. The question will be over whether he can command his penalty area and come off his line to the same standard as Chris Maxwell.
We needed another goalkeeper and we’ve got one. We have had a look and it’s clear he is able to do the key things Critchley wants for his style of play – play out from the back and save shots. He is young at 20 and had will have plenty of room to develop and knows his chances may be limited. We think this is a perfect signing for what we required, young, hungry, ready to challenge Maxwell, unlike Jak Alnwick who had to accept a battle for the number one shirt and wanted to be a first team starter, so fair play to him who opted to move for the benefit of his career.
Another consideration to be mindful of is the lower wages he will likely have been offered in a position of cover. Typically youth players can be picked up on a cheaper wage as he looks to develop his talent and make a career for himself in the game.
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