Why Luke Garbutt ended up at Blackpool and not Ipswich – Lambert explains ahead of reunion with ex loan star
- Credit: Archant
Paul Lambert has explained why Luke Garbutt ended up at Blackpool and not Ipswich Town ahead of a reunion with the former loan star tomorrow.
Left-sided specialist Garbutt provided six goals and three assists during his season-long loan from Everton in the shortened 2019/20 campaign, proving a real hit with supporters.
He became a free agent in the summer and, at one stage, it looked like Ipswich and Sunderland would be battling for his signature. Then, it seemed, both had been priced out of a deal.
It was surprising, therefore, that two weeks into the campaign he joined League One rivals Blackpool on a one-year deal.
With Town facing Blackpool at Bloomfield Road tomorrow, Lambert was asked how close he came to bringing Garbutt to Portman Road permanently.
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“We couldn’t do anything because of the situation. Everybody thought Garbutt was going to the Championship because he played that well for us. That’s why we left it, because we thought he was going to have a lot of takers one division higher. We just left it like that then obviously he went to Blackpool, so good luck to him there.”
Was he surprised by the move?
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“I don’t know – I don’t really get surprised by too much in football,” said Lambert. “Good luck to him. He’s a good guy, he did really well for us and I’ve got no problem with him. As I said, good luck to him there.”
Asked if Town ever had an offer on the table for Garbutt, Lambert replied: “No. Everybody assumed he was going to the Championship. I think his agent wanted a hell of a lot of money and there was no way we could have afforded that.”
So was it a case that by the time he came into the club’s price range, a left-back had then been signed in the form of Stephen Ward?
“I never saw Garbutt as a total left-back, I always thought he was better higher up,” said Lambert. “I didn’t want to sign him as a left-back, we needed a left-back and Wardy came into the equation. And he’s been an absolute revelation for us.”
But he did go out and recently signed a left-winger in Keanan Bennetts, so if he saw Garbutt as a left-winger, and his wage demands had dropped to League One level, why didn’t Garbutt become a target at that point?
“We couldn’t do it,” said Lambert. “That’s the way the money was. We couldn’t afford that level of money. I don’t know what money Blackpool pay. I know they’ve been invested in... I don’t know.
“But we had to move on. As I said before, we all thought Garbs would go somewhere else. Football is like that. You move on.”
Garbutt’s threat from set-pieces has certainly been missed at Ipswich at the start of this season.
Town goalkeeper Tomas Holy joked that he the team would be extra careful not to give any fouls away in the North West tomorrow afternoon.
“No free-kicks please, no free-kicks!” he laughed. “That’s what I will be calling all game. Even when they are on the halfway line, I will be calling that. Free-kicks don’t exist this game!
“When we practised free-kicks in training last season he would take 10 against me and score nine. I was thinking ‘how is this possible?!’ When he takes free-kicks it’s a big threat, so no free-kicks if possible!
“To be fair the boys know that already. All of us know what he can do. I’ve never seen anybody take free-kicks like this.”