Marcus Evans is prepared to turn down big money bids for Martyn Waghorn
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Ipswich Town owner Marcus Evans is prepared to turn down a big money offer for striker Martyn Waghorn.
We understand that there is substance behind reports suggesting Championship rivals Middlesbrough are preparing to make a move for the Blues’ No.9 should they sell Patrick Bamford to Nottingham Forest.
And Forest, who are spending big under new Greek ownership, could switch their sights to Waghorn themselves if attempts to sign Bamford – an £8m bid having reportedly been rejected – ultimately fail.
We understand that Evans is very much prepared to reject big offers for a player he signed for just £250k from Rangers last summer and whom became an instant fans’ favourite.
No player was involved in more Championship goals last season, with Waghorn scoring 16 and providing 11 assists from a variety of positions.
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Hurst has already made a public challenge to Waghorn to better that tally in 2018/19, which the 28-year-old has given the thumbs up to – in the modern day emoji way – on social media.
Evans has proven in the past that he is prepared to turn down substantial offers for players when knocking back bids for David McGoldrick (Leicester, £8m in 2014) and Daryl Murphy (Middlesbrough, £4.5m in 2015) at the peak of their Portman Road powers.
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A decent indication of current market value is Bobby Reid’s recent £10m move from Bristol City to Cardiff. The latter scored 19 goals and provided seven assists in the Championship last season and, at 25 years old, is three years Waghorn’s junior.
Waghorn and his wife originate from the north east, but he has spoken of how settled he and his young family are in Suffolk, his parents also having moved down to the area.
It’s understood that new boss Paul Hurst, very conscious that not everything is broken at Ipswich after an injury-hit squad finished 12th last season, is not looking to throw the baby out with the bath water.
However, circumstances outside of his control could see further exits.
Centre-back Adam Webster was sold to Bristol City for an initial £3.5m primarily because the player was keen on the move, with his injury record also playing a part in sanctioning the departure.
A similar situation could arise with striker Joe Garner, who scored 10 goals last season, given it’s understood he would not be averse to being nearer his roots in Blackburn.
Bolton are said to be ready to offer £500k for a player Town paid £750k for last summer, but Evans would drive a hard bargain for the 30-year-old given he still has two years left on his contract.
Meanwhile, keeper Bartosz Bialkowski and left-back Jonas Knudsen will return from the World Cup with Poland and Denmark respectively heading into the final 12 months of their contracts.
With that in mind, Evans would be forced to consider significant offers for the duo rather than risk losing them for nothing further down the line should they not be prepared to commit to extended deals.
It’s understood that Evans has given assurances to Hurst that all funds received will be his to spend as he sees fit.
In the past the big money fees received for the likes of Connor Wickham (£8m), Aaron Cresswell (£3.75m), Tyrone Mings (£8.1m) and Daryl Murphy (£3m) have been swallowed up by costly loan fees and an increased wage bill.
Hurst could well decide to use his kitty on prising players away from lower league clubs for fees, but on smaller wages.
The departure of David McGoldrick, who was one of the squad’s highest earners, has already provided some wage bill latitude.