Luke Freeman is probably up there as one of the most exciting players we had on our books during our first few years as a Football League club. The young winger came to us from Arsenal on a two-month loan deal, albeit with a view to an extension. Did we think he’d end up being on our books permanently? Maybe not at the time, but that’s how it panned out. And boy we’re glad it did.
After starting his career at Charlton Athletic, Freeman made his senior debut as a 15-year-old while at Gillingham. That was in November 2007. In just a couple of months, he made the move to Premier League giants Arsenal; signing pro terms with the Gunners in April 2009. Yet, he wasn’t able to break into Arsene Wenger’s first team plans so went out to Yeovil on loan in 2010. There, he scored twice in 13 outings.
It caught the eye of gaffer Graham Westley ahead of the 2011-2 campaign; Freeman doing what he does best and impressing for an Arsenal XI in a pre-season friendly. After joining us on loan, he made himself right at home; putting in a string of consistent outings while here on that short-term basis. Still, it was a bit of a surprise – and, indeed, a coup – when we revealed in January 2012 that he was a Boro’ player through and through. Dazzling performances kept on coming too.
Luke Freeman: After Boro’
So, it was no surprise after our relegation from League One in 2014 that clubs were in the hunt for him. Bristol City won the race and not for a small sum, thankfully. QPR were next to reap the rewards of his abilities, as his stock continued to rise. In July 2019, Sheffield United – new to the Premier League – dived in to sign Freeman in a deal worth £5m. A wedge came our way, with Phil Wallace retaining an interest in his future from the deal that took him to Bristol City five years before.