New Blackpool signing Oliver Casey has said it was the right time to move to the Seasiders in his first words since becoming Neil Critchley’s fifth signing of the transfer window.
Casey, 20, spent a decade with Premier League side Leeds United, coming through their academy system and making his senior debut in the top flight when he came on against Huddersfield Town in December 2019.
With those minutes under his belt, the central defender signed a new three-year deal with the Whites last summer and appeared in two more senior games in the 2020/21 campaign, but has decided to make a permanent move to play more first-team football.
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He will remain with the Championship side until 2024, with the option of another year after joining for an undisclosed fee and will link up with the Seasiders at the start of next month.
In a message to his former side, 20-year-old Casey said: “I’ve been at Leeds for ten years, but I feel now is the right time to move on and make the next step in my career.
“Leeds have given me a good platform to build on, and what better place to join them from than Blackpool.”
After the second-tier club achieved promotion from League One last month, Casey will be tasked with keeping them afloat in the Championship next season – and joins Daniel Grimshaw, Reece James, Shayne Lavery and Josh Bowler as Blackpool’s fifth signing of the summer.
This is a brave move from Casey, who could have asked for a loan instead of making a permanent move already, but the 20-year-old may not have seen a possible route into Marcelo’s Bielsa’s plans going forwards.
The Argentine took a chance on the defender, who was just 19 at the time, against Huddersfield for his debut even though it was only for a few minutes. This will give Blackpool supports who don’t know too much about him the confidence that he can do a good job in the second tier.
Under a manager like Neil Critchley who was previously manager of the Liverpool U23s team, this is the perfect opportunity for the young defender to flourish and potentially earn a move back to the Premier League if he shines at Bloomfield Road.
And if he can make as much of a positive impact as former Arsenal loanee Daniel Ballard did last season, he will quickly become a fan favourite in Lancashire.