Walton Permanent Signing Confirmed
Wednesday, 19th Jan 2022 18:49
Town have confirmed the signing of keeper Christian Walton on a two-and-a-half-year deal from Brighton and Hove Albion with the club having an option for a further season.
The 26-year-old had been on a season-long loan from the Seagulls, who recalled him with seven days’ notice last week as they sought to secure a fee from a permanent move for Walton, who would otherwise have been out of contract in the summer and able to move on a free transfer.
We understand that while a fee has been paid by the Blues, it is a very minimal one.
Luton, one of Walton’s other previous loan clubs, were reported to have shown interest in over the last week.
“It's been a long process so to have it done now is brilliant,” Walton told iFollow Ipswich.
“I was in my final year of the contract with Brighton and they allowed me to go and play regular football, which is what I wanted and needed. Now, having enjoyed my time here, I have a long-term future at the club.
“Initially joining a club like Ipswich was a no-brainer and now I want to stay at a club that has aspirations to go places. I want to play my part.
“I've had it in my mind that I wanted to stay here, so now I am buzzing it has been sorted.”
Manager Kieran McKenna added: “We’re delighted Christian has signed on a permanent deal.
“He has lots of qualities and a big presence. He has proved to be a key player for us.
“Making this move shows Christian’s appetite to achieve things here as well. He is someone with an excellent attitude and work ethic, and everyone is really pleased he has committed his future to the football club.
“He’ll continue to work closely with Rene Gilmartin, who has a blossoming relationship with the goalkeepers, and we all look forward to seeing him develop as he enters his prime years as a keeper.”
CEO Mark Ashton continued: "It's great news for the club that Christian will be staying at Portman Road.
"Christian is a model professional who is hungry to achieve success with Ipswich Town and we are delighted to have him on board on a permanent basis.”
Brighton head coach Graham Potter said: “Christian has been a pleasure to work with during my time at the club but this move gives him the opportunity to settle down and make a home for himself at a good club. We wish him all the best for his future.”
Walton has made 18 appearances for Town since joining on loan in August and has been one of the Blues’ outstanding performers this season.
Wadebridge-born Walton, who is 6ft 5in tall, was a schoolboy with Plymouth’s academy before moving on to the youth set-up at Brighton in February 2013.
The former England U19, U20 and U21 international made six starts for the Seagulls and had spells on loan with Bury, back with the Pilgrims, the Hatters, Southend and Blackburn in addition to his two seasons with Wigan where he played under former Town boss Paul Cook.
Walton is close to the Blues’ new goalkeeper-coach Gilmartin, the pair having been at Plymouth together prior to his move to Brighton.
The keeper becomes new manager McKenna’s first signing as Town boss and the first addition of the January window. The Blues now have only three players on loan - Bersant Celina, Hayden Coulson and Macauley Bonne - with Louie Barry having returned to Aston Villa earlier in the month.
Meanwhile, we understand Town had no interest in signing Preston central defender Jordan Storey, who has joined Sheffield Wednesday on loan, contrary to reports earlier in the week.
The Blues are likely to move for another defender during the window with Toto Nsiala having departed for Fleetwood last week but Storey is not among the potential targets.
Elsewhere, we understand former Blues assistant manager Stuart Taylor, now the boss at Scottish Championship Hamilton Academical, could show loan interest in young Town players familiar to him from his time at Portman Road during this window.
Forwards Zanda Siziba and Ben Morris are believed to be among his potential targets.
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