Transfer/Analysis: Dan Kemp

Dan Kemp arrived on a season-long loan from West Ham today, further bolstering our offensive options. Kemp spent time on loan at Stevenage last season before Covid struck, and has regularly featured for West Ham’s successful U23 side.

Following the departures of Ryan Hardie, Nathan Delfouneso and finally Joe Nuttall, Blackpool were beginning to lack depth at the top end of the pitch. Given the congested nature of the upcoming season, squad depth will be essential in ensuring that the club is competing at the right end of the table come May.

The signing of Bez Lubala earlier on in the week was widely regarded as a coup, increasing the competition for places in the front 3/4. The further addition of Dan Kemp, who can play in the front 3 or as the number 8, will only add to that competition.

Background

Dan spent a large majority of his footballing education within the Chelsea academy, up until the age of 16, when he made the switch to the Hammers in 2015.

Over the last five years, Kemp has worked his way through the West Ham setup, regularly featuring for the side in the Premier League 2 (U23’s league). Initial stats seem quite promising, with 19 goals and 9 assists in 63 appearances. From an attacking midfielder perspective, these offensive returns are encouraging for the creativity Kemp will add to our squad.

The midfielder is also showing clear signs of progression. Last season, Kemp made 15 appearances for West Ham U23’s, scoring 8 times and delivering 4 assists. This prolific return led to Stevenage signing Kemp on loan for the remainder of the season. Unfortunately, Covid-19 had a significant impact on the move, as Dan was only able to make 6 appearances for the Boro, though he did contribute one league goal.

Kemp also started and played 90 minutes in all 3 of West Ham’s EFL Trophy matches last season, scoring West Ham’s first two goals in a 4-3 defeat away at Cheltenham Town.

Where does he fit in?

Kemp seems to have played the majority of his games on the right-hand side of a front three, cutting in onto his left foot. If you had to directly compare him with any player in the current squad, you can see the similarities he holds with Kaikai, from the other side of the pitch. Not necessarily the fastest, but strong ball control and a clear eye for goal – you would imagine he will initially play backup to CJ Hamilton, pushing our new Road Runner for his place. Where this leaves Feeney is anyone’s guess….

What will he bring?

With Kemp making most of his career appearances in a youth development league, there is not much public information out there. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – this time last year, how many of us had heard of KDH? However, there are glimpses of play available on a highlight reel on YouTube.

Here, you can see Kemp picking up the loose ball, wanting to be involved in the press, cutting in from the right-hand side and firing home from 20 yards.

West Ham view?

He certainly comes highly regarded, with various replies from West Ham fans on Twitter thinking he was knocking on the door of the first team.

Kemp was analysed by The West Ham Way on YouTube, who stated:
– Whilst he often starts way out on the right, he is always looking for the ball centrally.
– Extremely both footed. Very comfortable with both his left and right feet.
– Thrives in pockets of space.
– Fast but not necessarily blistering quick in comparison to his team mate Nathan Holland, who excelled on loan at Oxford last season.
– Lacks physicality, leads to him losing the ball in 50/50 battles.
– Would equally be as useful in the number 10 role, which would potentially prevent his size being a detrimental factor.

Our verdict

Kemp clearly has bags of potential, is technically sufficient and is progressing year-on-year as a footballer. Whether or not at this stage he has the physical attributes to make his mark at League One level is yet to be seen. From Blackpool’s perspective, this feels like an ideal low-risk signing who won’t count towards our squad limit of 22 players. He adds depth to an attacking unit that has let a couple of players go in recent weeks, and could be a great option to have off the bench when defences are tiring in the last 15-20 minutes of games.

He is also the first loan signing of the season, leaving us with up to 4 more potential loanees. We expect at least 1-2 to arrive on loan prior to the start of the season at Plymouth Argylenext Saturday. It may also mean the end of the Star Man’s time at Blackpool, who has had limited match time in pre-season and does not seem to fit into the new system. Kemp will most likely be utilised on the right-wing, meaning we now have 7 players to fit into 3 spots.

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