Transfer Analysis: Walking in a Wintle Wonderland

Blackpool have confirmed the signing of Ryan Wintle on loan from Cardiff City. Here’s what the tangerine army need to know about our 10th signing of the summer:

Background

Wintle is joining on a season-long loan from Cardiff, who do hold the option to recall him in January. The Bluebirds signed Wintle on a free transfer this summer, but the form of  Joe Ralls, Marlon Pack, Will Vaulks and Leandro Bacuna has limited his chance at game time. 

Considered one of the EFL’s best free agents this summer, the former KFC worker earnt his reputation with 160 appearances for Crewe Alexandra – playing a vital part of their promotion from League Two in 2019-20, and their strong 12th  place finish in League One last year. 

What can we expect on the pitch?

Statistically, the first thing that stands out from Ryan Wintle is his elite passing numbers. Wintle was in the top 20% of League One central midfielders for pass accuracy, forward passes and progressive passes (passes which significantly progress the ball up the pitch). While he rarely dribbles or wins fouls, he is still above average in his ability to carry the ball up the field (progressive runs).

Wintle is an average defender – ranking in the 47th percentile for successful defensive actions – and these tend to be interceptions rather than aggressive duels or tackles. 

Going forward, Wintle is in the bottom 25% for xG, xG assisted (xA) and touches in the box – suggesting he won’t be a consistent threat to opposition keepers. He takes a high volume of shots relative to the goals he scores – suggesting he tends to shoot from positions outside of the box. Wintle doesn’t score or assist much – but when he does – they tend to be spectacular. 

He doesn’t just score screamers. In fact, Wintle has scored more often from cutbacks inside the box.  A wide player will dribble infield and play the ball back to Wintle, arriving late into the box (usually unmarked as a result). Wintle takes one or two touches and shoots.  With an abundance of wide players skilled at getting into the box (Bowler, Anderson, Mitchell), Neil Critchley will be hoping Wintle can score a few of these for his men in tangerine as well. 

How does he compare to our existing players?

By comparing Wintle to our existing players, it is clear he should make an impact right away. His profile is most similar Grant Ward, whose injury may have sparked the transfer push. While  Ward is the better dribbler, Wintle has better passing metrics and may slot straight into the slide. His defensive numbers aren’t as good as Ward’s – but defending is done as a system and no side had a better system than Blackpool last season! 

Given Critchley’s fondness for his defensive midfielders, I’d be surprised if Wintle displaces Dougall. The two have very different styles and could complement each other nicely on the pitch. Wintle would dictate play from deep and occasionally push up to join the attack, while Dougall specialises in destroying opposition transitions. The current midfielder who is most likely to lose his place is Kevin Stewart – particularly if he doesn’t find fitness soon. 

Conclusion

Critchley described Wintle as “an all-action midfielder with a range of passing and the capability to score a few goals as well” – and the evidence clearly supports it. He looks like an excellent addition to this Blackpool side, with enough quality to immediately compete for a place and have an impact. 

#upthemightypool

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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.

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