Tayo Signs!

Tayo Signs!

Rovers’ second deal of Deadline Day has seen them capture highly-rated Tayo Edun from Lincoln City for a reported fee of around £500,000.

The 23-year-old, who was into the last year of his contract with the Imps, has signed a three-year-deal at Ewood Park which will keep him in East Lancashire until 2024, which includes a 12-month option to extend the deal to 2025. Per Lincoln City’s announcement, the Imps ‘retain a future interest in the player’, which would suggest either future cash instalments or a sell-on-clause.

Edun, who is capable of operating down the whole of the left-hand side of the field, as well as in the centre of the park, has been heavily tracked by a number of Championship clubs, yet Rovers have swooped in to secure the transfer before suitors come in, during the January window.

The utility-man arrives both to provide cover over the left-hand side of the pitch and to challenge fellow new signing, Harry Pickering at the left-back position, which will prove vital in the coming winter months, when the games increase and injuries across the side inevitable hit.

The former Lincoln City man started his career in the Fulham academy, where he signed as an 11-year-old, before going on to make seven appearances for the London club’s first-team, after a spending a healthy period of time playing for their varying youth sides, where he totalled up 52 appearances across two age groups and three different competitions in four and a half years at Fulham. Although only two of his seven appearances came in the Championship, during the 2017-18 season, his exposure to ‘men’s football’, which mainly came in the Carabao Cup clearly did enough to capture the attentions of Championship managers who came in for him during the pre-season of 2018-19.

The paths of Edun and Rovers have crossed in the past, with the Islington-born player inflicting heartbreak on the opening day of the 2018-19 Championship campaign. As were Rovers winning promotion from League One, Edun was signing on the dotted line for Ipswich Town, who were willing to take the then-20-year-old on loan for the season. His impact for the Tractor Boys was instant, as after coming off the bench after an hour to replace Flynn Downes, Edun forced Rovers to settle for an opening day draw, as his speculative cross in the 91st minute evaded everybody in the box and nestled into the bottom left-hand corner of the net to see the sides play out an entertaining 2-2 draw on the first day of the 2018-19 campaign. That goal proved to be Edun’s only one in the blue of Ipswich Town, as after only seven appearances in Suffolk, he found himself back at Fulham in January 2019 after he was recalled.

After another year of playing youth football within Fulham’s ranks, January 2020 saw Edun move onto pastures new, as the Thames-based side accepted an undisclosed bid for his services from League One side, Lincoln City.

Edun proved to be revolutionary for former-Rovers boss Michael Appleton, despite taking the first 6 months to settle in his new environment. In the season which he joined the Imps, he only made 6 league appearances, which included four full games, in a variety of positions, from left-back to centre-midfield. As Lincoln adapted to both, their new life in League One following their 2018-19 League Two title winning campaign, as well as the departure of long-time boss Danny Cowley in September 2019 and the adaptation to Michael Appleton’s ideas, Edun’s arrival in Lincolnshire was disrupted, no more so than towards the back-end of the campaign when Leagues One, Two and those below were curtailed in March 2020 following the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2020-21 season, although played without fans in stadiums, saw Edun come into his own and cement his place as an important cog in Michael Appleton’s well-oiled Lincoln machine. The England youth international played 53 times in four different competitions for the Imps, netting two goals – including one against then-Premier League Champions Liverpool -and assisting seven. His eye-catching performances and his versatility were key for Lincoln this season, as he helped them finish 5th and qualify for the playoffs, which saw Lincoln defeated at Wembley by Blackpool by a 2-1 scoreline. Despite that disappointment, Edun played every minute of Lincolns playoff campaign, including the final at Wembley. From the 53 appearances he made in 2020-21, 33 of them came at left-back, whilst the other 15 games came either, in the centre of midfield or on the right.

Although Edun started – and played all 90 minutes – in Lincoln’s first four games of the League One campaign, scoring on the opening day and assisting in their second game, he was omitted from the squad on Saturday as the Imps fell to a 3-1 away defeat against Oxford United. This omission coupled with his contractual situation increased the speculation that Edun was set to depart the LNER Stadium and Deadline Day brought those rumours to life with his unveiling at Rovers.

Whilst his successful club career is something to marvel at, Edun’s international career should not be overlooked as he has tasted success for England as part of the Young Lions squad that lifted the 2017 Under-19 European Championship, despite being sent off in the final against Portugal. Alongside being named in the Championship’s Team of the Tournament, Edun was part of a squad that included the likes of Chile’s own Ben Brereton Díaz, Chelsea’s Champions League winners, Mason Mount and Reece James and new Arsenal signing, Aaron Ramsdale.

Prior to his successes with the under-19s, Edun was selected to represent the under-17s at the 2015 under-17s European Championships and the 2015 under-17s World Cup. After 10 appearances for the under-17s, Edun made three appearances for the under-18s, before moving onto his successful stint for the under-19s, where, alongside his Team of the Tournament appearance and his trophy lifting, he scored one goal in 14 games, before moving into the under-20s category in August 2017. Despite not playing for the Young Lions since March 2018, Edun has racked up seven appearances at under-20s level.