Alan Nixon reports that we’re in the hunt for Blackpool midfielder Matty Virtue.
The 25-year-old is a former Liverpool prospect who had a short spell on loan with Notts County in 2018. He began his youth career with Chelsea, switching to Liverpool, where he earned his first senior contract. He appeared 15 times for Notts County in League Two before sealing a switch to Blackpool in 2018.
His time with the Seasiders saw him make 56 appearances, 16 of which came in the 2020/21 season as they pipped us to a place in the Championship. Virtue, who plays as a central midfielder and is very much in the mould of the player I think we need, captained Liverpool’s Under 23 team and will have played in teams coached by Mike Garrity both there and with Blackpool.
This season, Virtue started two Championship games for the Seasiders, their opening day fixture and their 2-0 defeat at Stoke City a week later. He has made one further appearance, coming on as a late sub in their 3-3 draw with Burnley.
We’re not the only ones eyeing a move for the player; he’s also on Shrewsbury’s radar, which would mean he remains closer to home, but it feels like we might be in the hunt due to the Garrity connection, and hopefully, Michael Appleton’s recommendation as well. Nixon hasn’t made it clear whether this is a loan or permanent move, but given the player’s age and the fact his contract is up at the end of the season, it wouldn’t surprise me if there’s actually little difference; if MA doesn’t see you as part of his plans, we know firsthand a loan is as good as a move.
Given that we need a central midfielder, this would feel like a decent signing. Virtue didn’t get much game time last season, appearing just three times in the Championship, but much of that was due to an ACL injury, from which he has now recovered. If this is an accurate report, which it feels like it might be, I think this would be a decent capture for the Imps.