Hatters boss Nathan Jones ended a two-year pursuit of “warrior-like” Matty Pearson when the centre-half joined for an undisclosed fee from Barnsley.
The 24-year-old has played in midfield and both full-back positions during a career that has taken in Blackburn Rovers, Rochdale, FC Halifax and Accrington, where he first caught the gaffer’s eye after taking over as Hatters boss in January 2016.
Jones, who has already signed one centre-half with Sonny Bradley arriving from Plymouth, told lutontown.co.uk: “Matty’s versatility is a big plus, but the main thing for us is that he’s a natural defender – an out-and-out defender.
“He loves doing the ugly side of the game, he’s a big character, a warrior, a real leader on the pitch – and that’s something that we earmarked. We feel that with the way that we play, we need that and we’ve strengthened very well.
“We’ve got some outstanding centre-halves and real variation; all different ages, all different upbringings and characters and we are delighted with the strength we have in that area now.”
After being released by both Blackburn and Rochdale, Pearson had no hesitation in dropping into Non-League football as a 19-year-old, signing for FC Halifax. He made over 100 appearances for the Shaymen before joining Accrington in 2015.
“Matty is a real man, in terms of when we played against him, he’s one that we knew was a real top player in teams that he’s played in and for someone of his age, he’s played a lot of games, got a lot of experience under his belt – but he’s going to get better,” said Jones.
“He still has so much scope to learn and that’s why we’ve invested in him, because not only is he an excellent player, but he has so much more to learn as well – he’s one that we feel has a really high ceiling.
“It’s another big signing for us. We lost two big characters in terms of Johnny Mullins and Scott Cuthbert, but we’ve replaced them with two massive ones who we think will be big players at the level. With the ones we’ve already got here, it adds fantastic competition to a strong squad.”
Jones says Pearson and Bradley were his top two targets for the summer – and wanted to explain to supporters why only two new faces, plus Andrew Shinnie, have arrived since promotion to League One was secured.
“The trouble is with such a strong squad we have, to improve on it takes real good players who are better than ours,” adds Jones. “We have to identify those, but then getting players out of their clubs is difficult, and we realise that it’s not as easy a process because we are trying to get top-end players for the level.
“The stakes are a little bit higher and the quality that we are bringing in has again gone up, so it’s slightly more difficult to get things over the line, but we are well on our way. We set two top targets up and we’ve got them both.”