Ambrose and Bent reunited

Ipswich Town will not get any benefit from the move of former star Darren Ambrose to Charlton Athletic from Newcastle United, writes David Vincent.Twenty-one-year-old England Under-21 player Ambrose yesterday signed a four-year deal at the Valley, where he will link up with former Town team-mate Darren Bent.

Ipswich Town will not get any benefit from the move of former star Darren Ambrose to Charlton Athletic from Newcastle United, writes David Vincent.

Twenty-one-year-old England Under-21 player Ambrose yesterday signed a four-year deal at the Valley, where he will link up with former Town team-mate Darren Bent. The fee is undisclosed but is probably more than the bargain £1million Sir Bobby Robson paid to sign Ambrose from hard-up Town two years ago.

When Harlow-born Ambrose departed Portman Road in March 2003, while Town were in administration, there was no sell-on clause between the clubs. He had been training with Ipswich since he was 11 years old.

Ambrose was the brightest talent to burst through from a very strong youth Academy squad. He stepped up to the first team with ease and looked the likely successor to Jim Magilton in the centre of Town's midfield. He was the playmaker of the youth team which reached the FA Youth Cup semi-finals and won the Under-17 national play-off title, alongside good friends Bent and Ian Westlake.


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However, he never managed to establish himself on Tyneside. Newcastle manager Graeme Souness has already brought in Scott Parker for £6.5million from Chelsea and has plenty of other midfield choices, including Kieron Dyer.

Despite some good performances at the end of last season, Ambrose's strengths of passing and movement rather than chasing and tackling didn't impress Souness.

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It will be like Ipswich in disguise at Charlton next season because four of George Burley's Premiership squad. Bent, Ambrose, Matt Holland and Hermann Hreidarsson will be reunited.

Town's need to tackle their debts had seen an exodus of the players from the Burley era for reduced transfer fees.

Charlton manager Alan Curbishley, who has signed all four ex-Town stars, met with Ambrose yesterday to discuss terms.

Curbishley is aiming to re-kindle the tremendous partnership between pals Bent and Ambrose that goes back to their Academy days.

As well as creating lots of chances for others, Ambrose's eye for goal has made him stand out.

He hit a couple of spectacular goals for Newcastle last season, scoring three times in total in just 18 appearances, most of them from the bench.

Curbishley said Ambrose needed little persuasion to join them, despite late interest from another club.

"You can tell from the first time I met him he wanted to come to us and that is a big bonus," he said.

"I didn't have to do too much of a selling job as he wanted to come here and that is a major thing.

"Now, funnily enough, I've brought in two players who were at the same club together (Ipswich) and they're the right age for us.

"Both players were desperate to come to us and that makes a big difference.

"I'm happy that a player who is 21 years of age, and has a lot ahead of him, has signed for us.

"I think he's been stiffled a little bit at Newcastle after impressing under Bobby Robson. But a change of manager, and everything that goes with it, doesen't necessarily suit everyone.

"We asked about him towards the end of last season but the problem was he got in the side and finished strongly."

He said when Ambrose scored a couple of goals and played well he feared Newcastle would not let him go.

So Curbishley has bided his time and produced another transfer coup. The shrewd operator has managed to obtain Hreidarsson, Holland, Bent and Ambrose for around £5m. in the following deals:

Hreidarsson, Town's record £4.5 million signing, for £900,000 in March 2003.

Holland, the former Blues captain and an £800,000 signing from Bournemouth, for £750,000 in the summer of 2003.

Bent, in June this year for £2.5 million with £500,000 more to come depending on appearances and England recogntiion.

Ambrose, who left Ipswich for Newcastle in March 2003 for £1 million and has now moved on to Charlton for an undisclosed fee.

n Stoke City's Dutch manager Johan Boskamp has told Town target Clive Clarke to stay and fight for a place, at least for the start of the season.

Defender Clarke, who wants to leave City, is one of only 14 senior professionals Boskamp has as he attempts to build a squad for next season.

"I've told him to come back in five weeks and maybe we can talk again," said Boskamp.

Ipswich Town confirmed last night Jim Magilton had signed his new contract with the club.

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