Opinion: Three Key Points from Blackpool’s Released List

Blackpool published their Retained/Released list yesterday afternoon. It included a couple of surprises with Ollie Turton and Sullay Kaikai – our two longest serving players – both departing. So what does this all mean and where do we go from here?

If you haven’t already seen it; here’s the full breakdown:

New contracts offered to: Players Leaving:Loan players returning to parent:
Cameron Antwi
James Husband
Luke Garbutt
Gary Madine Stuart Moore Nathan Shaw
Liam Feeney
Alex Fojticek
Sullay Kaikai
Jack Sims Ollie Turton Adi Yussuf
Daniel Ballard (Arsenal) 
Elliot Embleton (Sunderland) 
Jordan Gabriel (Nottingham Forest) Ellis Simms (Everton)

And here’s that news mapped against their age and the percentage of available minutes they played for the club this season

So what does this mean for the Seasiders?

1) Drawing the Curtain on Turton

Ollie Turton, our longest-serving player, has left to join Huddersfield. It is not entirely unsurprising. While Blackpool would love to keep a versatile squad player, few fans believe he has what it takes to be a Championship RB. He’s also approaching the end of his peak years. Unfortunately, with Jordan Gabriel returning to Nottingham Forest, Blackpool are without any 1st team Right-Backs. We have Teddy Howe coming back from loan to League Two’s Scunthorpe, but it is unlikely he can make an immediate jump to the second division. Expect RB to be a key focus of recruitment as we advance into next season.

2) So long Sullay

Sullay Kaikai is the second major player to leave, having played around 65% of minutes last year. He was not offered a new contract by Blackpool, bringing an end to his two-year stint at Bloomfield Road. Looking at his pizza chart, we can make some assumptions about why Neil Critchley opted to let him go. Kaikai is a leading goalscorer and creator, but his one-dimensional game means he will likely have more success in a team that gives him more freedom and less responsibility.

Kaikai is a prodigious attacking talent. He is in the top 20% of League One LWs for creating goals and the top 7% for creating chances – while taking an average amount of touches in the box. 

Unfortunately, his defensive contributions – and ability to retain and use the ball in possession – are way below the League One average. He is not a good fit for Neil Critchley’s Blackpool. Kaikai, based on his statistics, is not good at meeting the significant defensive responsibility that comes from being a well-drilled side focused on the counter-attack. When Blackpool step up to the Championship, have even less of the ball, and even more defending against stronger sides, this problem will only worsen. Time will tell if letting him go was the right decision, but there is a clear rationale behind it.

3) No More Full-Backs?

In addition to our shortage of RBs, the announcement today said the club had offered both Luke Garbutt and James Husband new contracts. Unfortunately, neither of them have accepted them yet. When England are taking four right-backs to the World Cup, Blackpool faces the unique possibility of entering the second tier of English football with no right-backs OR left-backs. While we hope that the club re-signs at least one of Garbutt and Husband, this unfolding drama on the flanks is something to watch out for…

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Published by Conor Hamilton

Northerner working in finance. Blackpool FC fan. I write about football with healthy doses of tactics, statistics and data visualizations.

One thought on “Opinion: Three Key Points from Blackpool’s Released List

  1. Agreed on Kaikai. The worldie at Sunderland and great finish I think against Gillingham aside, he simply hasn’t been good enough over the whole season. Let’s not forget how often he was taken off around the hour mark, after being given chance after chance to bring his A-game to the table. I think it is a sign of where the club is going that he has been jettisoned rather than poached, with presumably a superior replacement about to enter the building.

    Turton actually left the club for three weeks at the end of last season, only coming back when options elsewhere were obviously not an improvement on what we had initially offered(he was btw one of our lowest paid players). It is therefore moot as to whether he was the longest-serving player. Whilst he did extremely well last season, I do not regard him as Championship material, which may indicate the quantity over Championship-quality approach that Huddersfield are undertaking and the general trajectory of the Terriers’ ambitions.


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