Southend United are delighted to announce the signing of striker Sam Dalby.
The 6ft 2in centre forward has signed a two-year deal and becomes Phil Brown’s seventh addition this summer.
The 21-year-old began his career at Leyton Orient, making his first team debut off the bench at the age of just 16 in an EFL Trophy win against Stevenage in August 2016.
Dalby made 18 appearances and scored one goal for the O’s, which came on his full debut in a League Two fixture against Crawley Town.
In January 2018 Leeds United completed the signing of the youngster for an undisclosed fee and, after initially impressing in the Whites’ U23s, Dalby featured for Marcelo Bielsa’s first team in pre-season and was on the scoresheet for the first time against York.
He joined Morecambe on loan in January 2019 before Watford snapped up the forward later that year for another undisclosed fee.
Dalby became a regular for the Hornets’ U23s and, after scoring 15 goals in 19 appearances in 2019/20, pushed for first team opportunities, with a call-up to the matchday squad for a Carabao Cup game against Everton before coming off the bench for his Watford debut in January 2020 against Tranmere Rovers in the FA Cup.
On joining Blues, Dalby said: "I’m really happy and looking forward to helping the club achieve its goals.
"I’ve still got a lot to learn, I’m only 21-years-old so I think this can be the place where I learn my craft and start scoring a few goals.”
Blues boss Phil Brown sees Dalby in a similar mould to a former Blues striker.
"I’ve got a look of a young Barry Corr,” said Brown. "He’s a big, strong, 6ft 2/6ft 3 hold up player, decent in the air which is going to be a bonus in both boxes.
"We’ve tracked him, it’s got to be said, since the day Orient beat us 6-0 in the FA Youth Cup back in my first spell as manager of Southend United. We wanted to put a bid in for him then so we’ve been tracking his progress.
"We want him to play the kind of football he has been for the U18 and U23 sides he’s been at, with us at adult level in the real world as it were. That’s our biggest challenge.
"He’s got fantastic talent and we’ve just got to get it out.
"We’ve signed a lot of experienced players in their 30’s, and we’re now getting somebody who I think has got absolute resale value if we can work this project for the next two or three years, he could be a pinnacle figurehead in the strike-force."
Welcome to Blues, Sam!