Luton Town have bolstered their squad with former Derby County midfielder Jacob Butterfield ahead of their first season back in the second tier of English football in over a decade.
The 29-year-old had his contract mutually terminated with the Rams, which has allowed the midfielder to make the move to Bedfordshire on a free transfer.
Graeme Jones will be delighted with this signing, as they look to keep above the dotted line and avoid relegation straight back to League One after being promoted as champions last season.
Jones took the reigns at Kenilworth Road in May after the departure of Nathan Jones to Stoke City in January earlier this year.
Although he’s not had the chance to manage any league games for Luton Town as of yet, Jones is already impressing the fans in Bedfordshire. His free signings of Callum McManaman, Ryan Tunnicliffe and Brendan Galloway will provide Luton fans with a lot of optimism going in to the new season.
Here are two pros and two cons to Luton Town’s signing of Jacob Butterfield.
Pro: A low-risk, cheap signing
This free transfer will be a valuable signing for Luton Town, who do not have as much financial firepower as some of the other teams in the Sky Bet Championship. This makes it important that the signings that they make are shrewd and worth the money it took to bring them there.
Butterfield is unlikely to be on huge wages after being released from Derby County and he will have a point to prove his former side, who didn’t seem to have any hesitation about allowing the midfielder to leave the club.
This move could work out well for both Luton Town and Butterfield, who will be desperate to stay in the Championship for more than one season. If the midfielder can show the Championship pedigree he has for Luton, this could be one of the signings of the season.
Pro: Ability to get a few years of service from him
It feels like the midfielder has been playing forever! He’s been playing senior professional football for over a decade, which included making an appearance off the bench against Cardiff City for Barnsley in a 2008 FA Cup semi final.
Even though he has all this experience, Butterfield is still only 29, which will allow Luton Town to make the most out of him for at least the next couple of seasons as they look to solidify their place in the second tier of English football for many years to come.
Having both experience and more playing time on your side is a very good asset for the 29-year-old to have, especially as he’s looking to get his career back on track with a newly-promoted Championship side that will need everything they have in order to stay in the second tier.
Con: Lack of game time recently
The midfielder has failed to play regularly in the past two seasons, which may be a disadvantage to Luton Town who will be looking to play Butterfield as much as possible.
Butterfield has played just 35 times in the league for Derby County and Bradford combined in the past two seasons, which isn’t an impressive total considering the regular league season is 46 games.
He’s even been played in the youth division of Premier League 2 for Derby County in the first half of last season, after barely featuring for the Rams. This was before he was shipped off to struggling Bradford City in January earlier this year.
Con: Relegated with Bradford
After being loaned out to then-League One side Bradford City, Butterfield was part of a side which took a huge downward spiral in that season and were at the bottom of the League One table.
This was a shock to Bradford fans, who had finished 11th in the previous season and had reached a play-off final in the 2016/17 campaign. They lost 1-0 at Wembley that day, a heartbreaking day which will be of huge regret to the Bantams especially after their relegation to League Two in April earlier this year.
Will Butterfield still be reeling from this League One relegation? It certainly doesn’t look good on his CV and he will be looking to avoid back-to-back relegations as a player this season for Luton Town. Whether he can do that remains to be seen.