Deadline day bids were ‘market value’, insists Ipswich Town MD Ian Milne

Ipswich Town Football Club managing director Ian Milne. Photo: Phil Morley

Ipswich Town Football Club managing director Ian Milne. Photo: Phil Morley - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Town managing director Ian Milne insists the club made ‘market value’ bids on transfer deadline day.

After selling striker Daryl Murphy to Newcastle United for £3m last weekend, the Blues brought in three players ahead of Wednesday’s 11pm cut-off point – a free transfer (Leon Best) and two season-long loans (Jonny Williams and Tom Lawrence).

They failed with several other attempts to strengthen the squad further though, with seven-figure offers for front men Marley Watkins (Barnsley) and Conor Washington (QPR) rejected.

“All the bids we made were market value,” said Milne. “They were sensible offers based on consultation between (manager) Mick (McCarthy), (owner) Marcus (Evans) and (director of football) Dave Bowman. They weren’t silly, derisory offers just so we could say ‘look, we wanted to spend’.

“When we eventually decide to walk away from a deal, it isn’t because Marcus says ‘I am not going to do this’, it’s because Mick and Dave Bowman say ‘no, stop now, he’s not worth that’.

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“They are the experts and they know the value of players far better than Marcus and myself.

“We are all of the opinion that if you over-pay regarding wages then that can’t help the morale in the rest of the squad. You get a disparity.”

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It’s been calculated that Championship clubs had a gross spend of £215m this summer – more than twice the previous record for the division – with much of that driven by the investment of recently-relegated clubs Newcastle, Aston Villa and Norwich.

Wolves, Derby, Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds have splashed the cash too.

“I think some of the clubs in this division have paid over the odds,” said Milne.

“The clubs that have just come down with huge parachute payments can afford to say ‘we want this guy, whatever the price’. That’s not how we work here though.

“Don’t forget, Marcus got caught up in that at the beginning and paid some silly figures for players. That didn’t work out for us.”

He continued: “One player has just left and three have come in. Our average wage bill is not going down, it’s going up. We are paying £7-8k a week to players on average. That’s the market value in this division. We are well up there with that. And over the course of a one or two-year deal, that’s where the real cost is.”

With McCarthy having said he will look to make more additions when the January transfer window opens, Milne said: “That’s very much the case. I’ve spoken to Marcus about that already. This is not a full stop to our transfer business for the rest of the season, it’s ‘to be continued’.”

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