How could the goalkeeping situation play out at Luton Town?
The need for a reliable and competent keeper (or two) is a pressing issue for the coaching staff as the start of the new football season draws near. The team has struggled in this position for years, relying on loan players or using backup goalkeepers who have never really proven themselves to be the team's starting goalkeeper. As the team's last line of defence, the goalkeepers play a crucial role in determining the outcome of every game, and the persistent use of mediocre keepers has resulted in avoidable defeats and missed opportunities.
Rob Edwards watches on | Photo copyright of Gareth Owen/LTFC
Recent news has broken that Kaminski is set to sign for the Town, with multiple sources (Adam Leventhal, Sacha Tavolieri and Sky Sports) stating the fee to be around £2.5M; double that of our previous record fee signing Simon Sluga. News which is very much welcome to myself, as well as fellow Luton fans.
James Shea has been a loyal servant to the club, but his lack of top-level experience and occasional injuries have made it evident that he is not the long-term solution. Albeit, this does not take away from his consistent and commonly seven out of 10 performances, something not to be understated in the modern game. On the other hand, since his arrival in June 2022 back-up stopper Matt Macey has not impressed. The one game he started for Town since re-signing was against Newport County, which was rather a day to forget with some key blunders and costly errors. Ultimately leading to his removal from the first team squad and Harry Isted being the preferred No2. Rob Edwards knows he cannot afford to compromise our chances by persisting with a subpar goalkeeping duo any longer, and with that in mind could we see two new goalkeepers come in?
The team's management is now faced with the difficult task of scouting and recruiting a new keeper who can serve as the foundation of their defensive line. They are looking for a stopper with a commanding presence, excellent shot-stopping abilities, and the ability to effectively lead the backline. Bringing in a dependable and experienced shot-stopper would not only strengthen the team's defence but also instil confidence and stability among the players. The upcoming season's success is heavily dependent on the management's ability to identify and secure the ideal addition to their squad, one who can finally put an end to our goalkeeper conundrum and help Luton Town stay in the Premier League.
I firmly believe that bringing Thomas Kaminski from Blackburn Rovers to our team would be a game-changing decision. In the Championship, Kaminski has established himself as a strong keeper with a stellar record. He would undoubtedly strengthen our defensive line and give us the much-needed stability at the back with his commanding presence, shot-stopping skills, and superb sweeping abilities. Additionally, Kaminski's expertise and dependability as our first-choice GK would be a welcome improvement over our current choices. With his addition, we can improve our chances of remaining in the league.
Kaminski in action against Luke Berry | Photo copyright of Gareth Owen/LTFC
Kaminski boasts some of the most impressive numbers across the Championship season last year, courtesy of FBref. His PSxG – GA (Post-Shot Expected Goals minus Goals Allowed), PSxG/SoT (Post-Shot Expected Goals per Shot on Target) and Avg. Distance of Def. Actions (Average distance from goal, in yards, of all defensive actions) were the standout stats to me.
Ranking in the 83rd percentile for PSxG/SoT is notable, this metric defines as expected goals based on how likely the goalkeeper is to save the shot – with higher numbers indicating that shots on target faced are more difficult to stop and more likely to score. At 0.32 Per 90, it demonstrates a clear positive, he faces difficult shots on target that he has consistently saved. This point is further supported by his PSxG-GA (+0.11 Per 90), positive numbers suggest better luck or an above-average ability to stop shots, perhaps the optimist in me believes the latter of that statement. Lastly, a figure that could prove invaluable in the Premier League is Kaminski’s ability to sweep up. His Avg. Distance of Def. Actions rank in the 87th percentile, one of the highest in the league. As such, the constantly larger and wider pitches cause issues for any defender, especially with Erling Haaland, but with Kaminski’s excellent sweeping abilities, this risk could be nullified.
As the search for a new shot-stopper continues, we eagerly await the unveiling of the next No1, hoping that our newfound safe hands will lead the way to a triumphant and successful season.
Featured image: Copyright of Gareth Owen/LTFC