Ali Al-Hamadi has all the 'raw ingredients' to be a hit at Ipswich Town, says manager Kieran McKenna.

Impressed by his record of 23 goals in 48 games for League Two club AFC Wimbledon, the Blues beat stiff competition to sign the 21-year-old forward in the final week of the January transfer window.

Wimbledon say the deal has the potential to a become a record amount received by a fourth-tier club, surpassing Exeter's £1.8m sale of Ollie Watkins to Brentford in 2017.

“He's somebody that we've watched quite closely and we think he's a really high potential forward player with a lot of growth still to come," said McKenna, whose side are fourth in the Championship table with 17 games to go.

East Anglian Daily Times: Ipswich Town paid in excess of £1m to sign Ali Al-Hamadi from League Two club AFC Wimbledon.Ipswich Town paid in excess of £1m to sign Ali Al-Hamadi from League Two club AFC Wimbledon. (Image: Pagepix Ltd)

“We know that to be competitive in this division we have to, at times, find other ways to do it. We've brought in players over the last couple of windows who maybe weren't playing at their previous club or maybe hadn't been successful recently, and you're able to attract them for a better price.

“With Ali, he's making a step up from League Two, but we think he's got fantastic raw ingredients and the potential to make that step up. And we think this is a really good environment for him to do it in."

Al-Hamadi made his Town debut as a second half substitute in last weekend's 3-2 defeat at Preston and produced a lively cameo as the Blues almost undid a three-goal deficit.

Town forward Conor Chaplin said of his new teammate: “I follow football religiously, so I knew about the goals Ali was scoring week-in, week-out. Physically, he’s in great shape and capable of competing at this level for sure. The number of chances he creates for himself says a lot.

“He is definitely ready for a step-up. A lot of our squad have played in League Two and League One. We just need to help him settle in and help him try and get better as a footballer."

East Anglian Daily Times: Ali Al-Hamadi almost scored on his Ipswich Town debut.Ali Al-Hamadi almost scored on his Ipswich Town debut. (Image: Pagepix Ltd)

Ipswich signed four players in the January transfer window of 2023 - Harry Clarke, Massimo Luongo, Nathan Broadhead and George Hirst - and they all had a major impact in the second half of the season as automatic promotion from League One was secured.

Can this January's four new recruits - Lewis Travis, Jeremy Sarmiento, Al-Hamadi and Kieffer Moore - have a similar impact for a team in the mix at the top end of the Championship?

"I hope the effect will be the same as last year, otherwise our recruitment isn’t very good, is it?" smiled Chaplin. "The only reason people come into the building is to improve us and I think that’s certainly what has happened with the calibre of player we have brought in.

“We've added a really good blend of age and experience at this level. I think it’s exciting and I can’t wait to understand more about their games and for them to show us what they’ve got and how they can help. The quicker we can help them to settle in, the better for everyone.

“I don’t just mean in terms of the changing room – I think that’s a given because it’s an easy place to settle in and I really mean that – but also in terms of on the pitch and the patterns of play and little messages you can give out.

“That falls on our shoulders as well as the manager and the coaching staff. It’s our job to help lads settle in and know where their passes and their movements are, and to understand each other’s games as quickly as possible. I think that’s part of our job as players and senior lads as well.”