Like London buses, you wait weeks for a signing and then two centre-backs called Daniel come along in one day. This one is finally the experienced centre-back that we have been hoping for, as Iceland international Daníel Grétarsson becomes Blackpool’s 15th summer signing for an undisclosed fee from Norwegian club Aalesunds FK.
Pool have gained an experienced ball-playing defender who only recently turned 25. You do wonder if our transfer business is now finished, or if there will be even further incomings from the domestic transfer market which closes on 15th October.
Grétarsson started his career for Icelandic Club Grindavik in 2012 before joining Norweigian side Aelesunds FK in 2015 where he was converted from a midfielder to a defender, initially as a left-back and eventually as a centre-back where he has impressed during his 50 appearances for the club. He’s represented his country at youth level, both for the U19s and U21s before he was called up to the senior squad in September 2019, making his full senior cap against Canada in January this year.
Grétarsson has made 155 appearances and scored 10 goals in his time. He has never received a red card in eleven seasons playing professionally, implying that he has a calm, reliable nature.
Upon reviewing his highlights from Vimeo which we tweeted earlier, it seems he is able to quickly switch the play with long balls which are precise and to the wide men on the pitch. It looks like he might rack up a few assists if he is able to find CJ out on the right in space, which Ollie Turton has managed to do on a few occasions this year. This will also help as we look to transition from midfield to attack and get the ball forwards quickly at times.
He’s aware of Blackpool too, having seen plenty of our side play before under Ian Holloway. He said on the club’s website: “I remember Blackpool from when they played in the Premier League ten years ago and it was very special to watch.”
The defender’s contract was due to expire in January which has likely led to a reduced fee for the player who had confirmed his intent to play in another country.
In a statement on AaFK’s website, Daníel’s former club explained the context of the deal from their perspective.
They explained how they had converted him from a midfielder to a left-back at the age of 19 where he made his debut against Rosenborg in front of nearly 20,000 fans, then was “later retrained and has grown into the role of stopper”.
Sports Manager Bjørn Erik Melland said: “Daníel has in many ways been a great example. He came here as a young boy and over time has developed into a man. We wanted to extend with Daníel, and started that process a year and a half ago without reaching an agreement. Unfortunately, the interest in resale during the contract period has not been present until now. We at AaFK understand that he now wants to move on and thank him for the contribution”.
Head coach Lars Arne Nilsen also wished Daníel good luck in the statement: “When I took over the coaching responsibility, I knew that it was likely that Daníel would disappear. This is how it is sometimes in football, that you both lose and gain. We wish him all the best”.
That implies that we were able to secure Grétarsson for a lower fee than perhaps they may have looked for had he been tied to a longer deal, which is a sign that the club has been continuing its strategy to do good, efficient business with players who will have a sell-on value if they perform well in tangerine.
In my most recent post, Expectations vs Reality, I highlighted how we have become spoilt as Blackpool fans. Then the club goes and secures two centre-backs in the same day – we truly are! It seems like Neil Critchley and the BFC board have high expectations and will have been as disappointed as the fanbase following Saturday’s performance, so they’ve been fairly cut-throat in the dropping of Michael Nottingham and now securing two new recruits.
As a player, Grétarsson has experience at International level which will surely help him settle in at Bloomfield Road. He should be able to use some of the leadership qualities and organisation that made it hard for teams to break us down, similar to that of the Iceland team in Euro 2016 against England – though Grétarsson didn’t play that day. With a wide range of passing, he’s exactly the type of player we’ve been missing at the back in the campaign so far and we can’t wait to see him in tangerine!
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Image: Blackpool FC Twitter