Blackpool’s 12th summer signing is Luke Garbutt following his release from Everton. “Who?” said manager Carlo Ancelotti when asked about the player who’d been at the club for 11 years, though only made 12 senior appearances and hasn’t been around the first-team picture since 2015.
It made for humorous reactions across social media, with Garbutt himself also showcasing his highlight reel from last season’s loan spell with Ipswich Town.
This is something Blackpool FC’s official Twitter referred to as they teased the signing of the 27-year-old on social media.
So who exactly is Luke Garbutt? The Harrogate-born left-back came through the ranks at Leeds United and was snapped up by the Toffees in 2009 for £600k. Loan spells through the Football League followed, with loans to Cheltenham Town in League Two and Colchester in League One leading to his chance at Everton, playing in the opening games of the Premier League and Europa League, which led to Everton tying him down for five years. He then moved to Fulham in the Championship to get a run of games, followed by Wigan a year later, the latter where he only made eight appearances.
The second loan led to Garbutt dropping down to League One, initially with Oxford where he made 36 appearances and scored four times. He was linked with a move back to the Championship last summer, but opted for Ipswich Town where he impressed last year, scoring six goals and grabbing three assists in 30 games including a penalty against Pool in our 2-2 draw at Portman Road.
Again this summer, it was believed that Garbutt would be heading back up to the Championship, however he was also linked to a return to Ipswich and a move to Sunderland – highly coveted as the best left-back in League One.
Of course, nothing came about for Garbutt this summer and Pool were able to swoop in on a 12-month deal. Luke referred to the location being a pulling factor, in addition to the chance to work under Neil Critchley in his interview with the club. You’d expect that the club’s ambition was also sold to him by the recruitment team and Ben Mansford, with a view to hopefully playing in the Championship next season, either with us or earning himself a move from a successful spell with us this year.
From the outside, it may be tempting to assume his career to date must be down to a bad injury record, but that’s actually not the case. Garbutt only had one ankle injury in 2015 while playing at Fulham which set him out for six weeks. So it’s more a case that he hasn’t been able to settle at one club and has been on loan – largely due to the long contract and presumably hefty wage he’s been on over the last five years. But now, Garbutt is permanently our player – albeit on a 12-month deal – and hopefully he can settle in for a successful period.
Style of play
Garbutt is renowned for his left foot and is capable of taking set-pieces, having scored direct free-kicks and also keeping a calm head from penalties. He also likes to get forward – both on the overlap and also drifting into attacking positions.
But it’s not just going forwards, Garbutt has also showcased his strengths defensively at this level at both Oxford and Ipswich, both who had strong seasons and Garbutt stood out as a key performer for both clubs.
View from the other side
Ipswich fan: Surprised he’s signed for a league one club if I’m honest, thought he’d go to a Champ club. One of our better players last year – but that doesn’t say much! We didn’t award a player of the season, but I imagine he would be have been very close to winning it. Not the best defensively, but decent going forward. Scored some cracking free kicks for us.
@tott_online: No disrespect to Blackpool, but I think the former Town loanee may have been hoping for a ‘better’ move this summer
@stuart_watson: Ex ITFC loanee Luke Garbutt signs for Blackpool FC. They were already my dark horses this season. Even more so now. Lot of excitement up there surrounding the team former LFC U23 coach Neil Critchley is building
The signing of Garbutt showcases Neil Critchley’s intent to seemingly use an attacking left-back in the mould of Demetri Mitchell. We now have two different options in the form of attacking wing-backs on the left hand side, which will allow the likes of Sullay Kaikai and Bez Lubala to move inside and support in the middle. Garbutt is proven at this level and at the age of 27, adds a bit of know-how as he moves into the peak of his career.
He’ll have hopes of getting back to the Championship over the next couple of seasons, which may explain the fact it’s a 12-month deal rather than longer, and hopefully this proves to be the right move for him at this stage of his career to allow him to do that -hopefully with us in 12 months’ time.
What do you think to the signing? We did a poll on social media to see if you think he’s the best signing of the summer so far. Get involved!
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Image: East Anglian Daily Times