FEATURE: Ipswich Town director of football Dave Bowman says a limited budget won’t mean limited ambition in the transfer market
- Credit: Archant
Ipswich Town director of football Dave Bowman heads up the club’s extensive scouting network. STUART WATSON spoke to Mick McCarthy’s loyal staff member ahead of the summer transfer window opening.
A limited budget doesn’t mean there will be limited ambition in the transfer market this summer.
So says Ipswich Town’s director of football Dave Bowman, the man who has enjoyed so much success alongside Mick McCarthy throughout his career.
Blues owner Marcus Evans has reduced his spending ahead of new Financial Fair Play rules, meaning McCarthy will once again be restricted to free transfers, loans and swap deals ahead of the club’s 13th successive season in the second tier.
Bowman – who, along with coach/scout Ian Evans, followed McCarthy from Millwall, to the Republic of Ireland, to Sunderland and then Wolves – couldn’t be more enthusiastic about the plans to add a touch of quality to a hard-working and spirited squad which has just finished ninth in the Championship table.
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“We have real ambition to go forwards,” he said. “I think we’re all looking forwards to another season and building further on the good progress that has been made.
“Financial Fair Play is coming in and it’s on everybody’s mind, not just Ipswich Town’s. All Championship clubs – apart from those who have just come down or are still benefitting from parachute payments – will be affected by it.
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“The backing from the owner (Marcus Evans) has been tremendous, I must stress that. I really can’t speak highly enough of him. He trusts us when it comes to football decisions, he lets us get on with it. There is no interference.
“We do have financial constraints, but we are not alone. And that’s where we hope our network of contacts will come into its own.”
Bowman continued: “We’ve had scouts all over the country filing reports all season and the players that we really like we will have watched several times. We’ve compiled a number of lists; young players, out of contract players, foreign players, those that will cost money, young Premier League loans. We’ve got all bases covered.
“It’s the young Premier League loans which will be our main priority. And I’m talking about the top six clubs in the Premier League – that’s the sort of level we’re looking at. If we could get another player or two of Jonny Williams’ quality then that could make a big difference.
“A lot of these young lads will be needed back for pre-season with their Premier League clubs because a lot of their internationals will be given extra time off after the World Cup.
“They’ll probably go away on the tours and then be loaned out at the start of the season.
“We’ve identified the ones we would like though and spoken to their clubs about their up-and-coming commitments.”
He added: “I’m based in the north east and it’s a long trip down for me, but it’s always great to arrive.
“From the ladies who clean the strips to the people on the gate, there’s just so much enthusiasm, positivity and excitement about the place.
“I see Ipswich Town exactly as I saw Sunderland and Wolves – a sleeping giant that is ready to get back in the big time again. We achieved it at both those clubs and I’m confident we can achieve it here.
“We’ve made real progress and I’d love to know where we would have finished had Didz (David McGoldrick) been fit all season. We were probably one of the most feared teams in the division when it came to set-pieces and there is the nucleus of a good side to build upon.
“I just wish Bobby Robson was still alive so I could tell him that I am working here. I worked with him for 18 months when we were with Ireland and he would have loved me to have ended up here.”
A goalscoring midfielder and pacy wingers appeared to be lacking last season. Are they high on the wanted list?
“I can’t name names, obviously, but they are the areas we are looking at, yes. We’d like to get more goals from midfield and we are looking to add some pace because I think that’s a vital attribute in this division.”
Is there a certain age group you are looking towards?
“We had a philosophy at Sunderland and Wolves where we tried to identify and recruit young, keen and hungry players and surround them with the right number of experienced Championship players. It’s the same here. “With this fancy title my role is not just to look for the seniors, but also at the younger age groups and find players for (academy director) Bryan (Klug) to work with. I’m off to watch the Nike Academy Under-14 and Under-15 tournaments this weekend.”
Do you think this is an attractive club for players again?
“We’ve been inundated with calls from agents trying to place their players here. “People have taken notice of what we are doing here, seen that we are going in the right direction and are saying ‘let’s get to Ipswich’. Instead of thinking ‘Suffolk is miles away from anywhere, people are saying ‘it’s only an hour up the road from London’.”
Is non-league an area you are looking at?
“We do a lot of non-league football, Taff (Ian Evans) and I love watching non-league, but it’s not the same market as it was. “When we signed the likes of (Michael) Kightly for Wolves, we paid £25,000 to Kidderminster Harriers and there were about 12 clubs tracking him at that time. “Now clubs are paying seven-figure fees for the best non-league players (Jamie Vardy an example) and that’s not viable for us. “But we make sure we are aware of these players, that we’re on the ball and are be ready to move if the opportunity arises.”
POTENTIAL TOP-SIX PREMIER LEAGUE LOANEES
Midfielder, 23, has three full England caps and was signed from Everton for £12m. Just four league appearances this season. A long shot, but was linked with loan move to Wigan last season.
Ex Chelsea and Swansea winger, 25, played just six times for West Brom during season-long loan
Versatile and creative midfielder, 20, capped at senior level by Wales. Impressed on loan for Birmingham.
Right-back, 21, played key role as Derby finished third.
Left-winger, 17, already capped by Wales senior side.
Winger, 18, was on loan at Birmingham this season.
Left-back, 20, has been on loan at Wolves and Blackpool.
Creative midfielder, 21, has been on loan at Swansea, Middlesbrough, Watford and Wigan.
Capable of playing centre-back or centre-midfield. Has been on loan at Watford, Forest and Middlesbrough.
Strong in the tackle. Can play right-back or central midfield. Been on loan at Forest and Sheffield Wednesday.
Striker, 20, has scored freely on loan at MK Dons and Derby. Chelsea paid £1.5m to get him from Forest.
Spanish centre-back, 21, started in Barcelona academy. The 6ft 4in defender has been on loan at Leicester.
Arsenal paid around £500,000 to get the attack-minded German midfielder from Borussia Dortmund.
Powerful and pacy striker, 20, has been on loan at Huddersfield, Reading, Bolton, Millwall and Sheffield Wednesday.
Everton paid French side Strasbourg £1m for the left-winger’s signature in 2010. The 24-year-old has found his chances limited at Goodison Park.
Left-back, 20, impressed on loan at Colchester.
Defender, 19, was briefly on loan at Wigan this season. Just been called up to the England Under-21 squad.
Midfield pass-master, 21, has been on loan at Leyton Orient, Derby and QPR.
Attacking midfielder, 20, has just impressed on loan at League One side Swindon.
Striker, 23, was at Brighton and Charlton this season.