Should Ipswich Town sign a free agent striker? Here are six options
- Credit: PA
The transfer window may be shut, but Ipswich Town could still sign free agents should they wish. Do the Blues need another striker given their injury crisis up top? STUART WATSON looks at six men who could fit the bill.
‘Big Collin’ needs little introduction to Blues fans.
The German forward, 29, was the man that Paul Lambert turned to in an attempt to turn around Town’s fortunes during the second half of the ill-fated 2018/19 season.
Signed on loan from Huddersfield Town in early January, it took Quaner time to discover his match fitness. By the time he was up to speed, the chances of a great escape were over.
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He may not have set the world alight at Portman Road, but he did bag four goals in his last seven outings as Ipswich slipped to relegation.
On his return to the John Smiths Stadium, Quaner struggled with a hip problem. Last season he made just five substitute appearances for the Terriers (totalling 68 minutes) and was released in the summer.
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Verdict: It’s now been more than three years since he’s been fit and firing. Power and pace could be very handy at League One level though.
The Israeli striker, 33, scored plenty of goals in the Championship for Brighton between 2015 and 2017, helping them reach the Premier League.
He’s spent the last two seasons on loan at Championship clubs QPR and Charlton, his appearances a mixture of starts and sub outings, then was released by the Seagulls in the summer.
Hemed is a decent all-rounder, with a mixture of pace, strength and a goal-scoring touch.
Verdict: This is the name that jumps off the page for me. A second-tier standard player that ticks the boxes and could be in reach.
The journeyman striker turns 35 in January. He’s still been churning out games in recent years though.
He made 10 starts and 10 sub appearances for Bolton in League One last season (scoring twice). Prior to that he made 34 starts and 13 sub outings at League Two side Oldham (scoring seven). Before then, it was 20 starts and 15 sub appearances at League Two side Chesterfield (scoring two).
The former Rochdale, Barnsley and Sheffield Wednesday man’s best days are behind him and he’s hardly prolific. But he’s still a strong, wily, hard-working player.
Verdict: Could provide a very short-term physical fix on a budget.
The former Everton, West Brom and Sunderland striker has not played competitive football in over two years since a brief spell with Chinese side Beijing Enterprise,
A trial at League One side Doncaster Rovers, who are managed by his former West Brom team-mate Darren Moore, failed to materialise into a contract last year.
Speaking in August, the 32-year-old said: “I feel hungry to play but only if the right opportunity comes. I have had a few options to go abroad but I feel I have unfinished business in England.
“Right now is the fittest I have ever been. We will see if a good opportunity comes.”
Verdict: A strong, back-to-goal striker who can link the play. Premier League pedigree, but has been out the game a while now.
The former West Brom, Nottingham Forest, Blackpool and Huddersfield front man has proved to be a handful for Ipswich in the past.
He’s 6ft 3in, good in the air and a threat at set-pieces.
Again though, at 33, age is not on his side. And injuries have restricted him to just a handful of appearances for Bury, Oldham and Tranmere over the last four years.
Verdict: Right attributes, but not going to be able to hit the ground running.
Remember him? The Irish striker started out at Arsenal and made seven-figure moves to both Sunderland and Celtic all before he was 23.
Blackburn prematurely terminated his contract in 2017, then Hibernian released him after a breach of disciplinary rules in 2018.
Since then he’s played in Greece, Iran (for the wonderfully named ‘Tractor’) and Turkey. In August he signed for Scottish side Livingston, but left just a few weeks later after saying he disliked training on artificial pitches.
Verdict: A player that has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Would come with far too much baggage.
Oli Hawkins’ quick return from injury means there’s no rush to go out and sign a free agent.
In truth, by the time the new man is brought up to speed then the likes of Kayden Jackson, Aaron Drinan and James Norwood will be returning to action.
If Town are serious about promotion this season, then I do think they’ll need to add more firepower. Doing that in January, with the addition of a match-hardened player, is probably wiser though.