From David McGoldrick and Freddie Sears to Luciano Civelli and Aaron McLean - Ipswich Town’s January transfer window hits and misses

The five signings before the January deadline in 2008. Alan Quinn, Stephen Bywater, Velice Sumulikos

The five signings before the January deadline in 2008. Alan Quinn, Stephen Bywater, Velice Sumulikoski, Nick Colgan and David Norris

Chris Brammer takes a look at Ipswich Town’s hits and misses since the introduction of the January transfer window a decade ago.

Daryl Murphy and David Healy in 2010

Daryl Murphy and David Healy in 2010

For every David McGoldrick there has been a Velice Sumilikoski.

Today, former Blues striker Alex Mathie warned of the risks clubs can take in the January transfer window, and has backed Town’s safety first policy when it comes to new faces.

Such recruitment may not be universally accepted by supporters – indeed 94% of fans polled during the EADT webchat last week demanded new faces to give the Blues a renewed push towards the top six.

However, it looks as though the Blues are heading for another uneventful closing of the transfer window with just 31-year-old Kevin Foley, a free agent who has been without a club since leaving FC Copehagen last summer, and the versatile young Paul Digby, on loan from League One club Barnsley, signed so far.

When promotion rivals such as Derby are spending £2.5m on Reading’s Nick Blackman and Middlesbrough are eyeing £10m Fulham hitman Ross McCormack, such deals spark frustration among fans.

However, as Mathie says, there are no guarantees in the transfer market, and Ipswich have had their fingers burned before.


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McCarthy, himself, has had an up and down recruitment record at Portman Road, but the bargain signings of McGoldrick and Freddie Sears have gone in his favour and provided a spark at a crucial moment.

But no club avoids signing a flop, just look at Chelsea and Fernando Torres.

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“Teams are desperate at this time of year and players can be over-priced. Ipswich have a sensible policy,” said Mathie.

Hit? Jon Walters

Hit? Jon Walters - Credit: Archant

The hits

David McGoldrick

Age when signed: 25

Fee: Loan from Nottingham Forest

Apps: 96 so far

Goals: 30

McGoldrick was drafted in on-loan from Nottingham Forest in January 2013, following a spectacular first half to the season on a similar deal at League One Coventry, where he scored 17 goals in 25 appearances. Scored four goals in 13 games as the Blues steered themselves away from the relegation spots under Mick McCarthy, before finding the net 16 times after joining on a permanent deal the following summer. Injuries have hampered his progress in recent past.

Freddie Sears

Age when signed: 24

Fee: £100,000 from Colchester

Apps: 53 so far

Goals: 15

Diminutive striker joined the Blues last January after resurrecting his promising career, which began on such a high with West Ham, at Colchester. Sears scored nine goals in 23 games for Town, becoming an instant hit, and has been one of the team’s stand-out performers this season, despite playing for much of the campaign in a wide midfield role.

Jonathan Walters

Age when signed: 23

Fee: £150,000 from Chester

Apps: 146

Goals: 32

Signed for the club in 2007 and went on to score four goals before the end of the season. His first full campaign with the Blues saw Ipswich miss out on the play-offs by a point and Walters, who netted 13 times, win the Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year awards at Portman Road. Walters would go on to score just 15 more goals in his next two seasons before being snapped up by Stoke in August 2010.

Jimmy Bullard

Age when signed: 32

Fee: Loan from Hull

Apps: 37

Goals: 6

Popular midfielder made a stunning impact on arriving at Portman Road in a loan deal from Hull City in 2011. Bullard had failed to hit the heights in the Premier League with the Tigers, having signed for £5m, but after electing to be reunited with his former Wigan boss Paul Jewell, scored five goals in 16 appearances to add a spark to an average Blues season. After much clamour from fans, Bullard joined the club on a permanent basis in August 2011, but failed to recreate the heroics of his first spell, scoring just once in 21 games before leaving on a free for MK Dons.

Richard Stearman

Age when signed: 25

Fee: Loan from Wolves

Apps: 15

Goals: 0

Former Leicester defender Stearman joined the Blues’ ultimately successful fight against relegation in January 2013. Having found his opportunities limited at Championship rivals Wolves, manager Mick McCarthy jumped at the chance to work with his former player again. And Stearman didn’t disappoint, the defender, usually used at centre-half, making a sterling contribution at right-back, with his tough tackling and good aerial ability. Returned to Wolves in the summer as the Molineux club contemplated life in League One and re-established himself in the Black Country club’s defence, the side being promoted in May 2014. Now plays for Fulham.

Noel Hunt

Age when signed: 32

Fee: Loan from Leeds

Apps: 8

Goals: 2

Joined brother Stephen at the club, on a free in January last year, following a successful loan spell that included his dramatic late winner at Charlton. Made his second permanent start in the 3-1 victory at Millwall, scoring two goals and went on to play six more games as Town chased the play-offs. He was sidelined by a knee injury, just as he was getting into his flow, and missed the rest of the campaign, but remained a vocal and helpful figure in the dressing room.

The misses

Anthony Wordsworth

Age when signed: 24

Fee: £150,000 from Colchester

Apps: 20

Goals: 2

After impressing for several seasons at Colchester, Mick McCarthy splashed out £150,000 on the talented U’s midfielder. Wordsworth made his first start against Blackpool and looked impressive before breaking a vertebrae in his back against the Seasiders. Scored on his return from injury, in the 1-0 home win against Hull, and looked set to become an important part of McCarthy’s plans. However, the signings of Cole Skuse, Ryan Tunnicliffe and Paul Anderson saw his chances limited the next season and after loan spells at Rotherham and Crawley, joined Southend on a free transfer last summer.

Velice Sumilikowski

Age when signed: 24

Fee: £150,000 from Colchester

Apps: 20

Goals: 2

Described as the Balkans’ answer to Steven Gerrard, Macedonian international Sumilikoski joined the club in 2008 from Turkish club, Bursaspor. The midfielder went on to make 43 appearances for Town but failed to hit the heights, joining Preston for £400,000 in August 2009.

Aaron McLean

Age when signed: 29

Fee: Loan from Hull

Apps: 8

Goals: 1

Mclean made his name at Peterborough before landing a big-money move to Hull in December 2010. However, the striker failed to replicate his Posh form with the Tigers and made the move to Portman Road in January 2013, at the same time as David McGoldrick and Frank Nouble. Mclean was heralded as the bigger signing on his arrival, but McGoldrick stole his thunder. Left in the summer, having made little impact on the pitch.

Ryan Stevenson

Age when signed: 27

Fee: £50,000 from Hearts

Apps: 13

Goals: 1

Highly-rated Hearts midfielder was signed by Paul Jewell in January 2012, after receiving rave reviews in Scotland. But he failed to make the same kind of impact south of the border, making just three starts before returning to Scotland with the Jambos. Despite a difficult spell, the heavily-tattooed playmaker will always be remembered for his spectacular long-range strike at Doncaster on the final day of the 2011-12 season.

Frank Nouble

Age when signed: 21

Fee: £25,000 from Wolves

Apps: 60

Goals: 5

One of the few players signed for a fee under Mick McCarthy – albeit £25,000 – Nouble failed to establish himself as a regular starter for the Blues, having signed from Wolves. Despite an imposing frame and plenty of pace, Nouble scored just five goals in 60 appearances, two of which came in a crazy eight-minute spell that saw Town score three goals without reply against Crystal Palace in April 2013. Now plays for Chinese side, Nei Mongol Zhongyou.

Luciano Civelli

Age when signed: 22

Fee: £1m from Banfield

Apps: 17

Goals: 0

The Argentinean winger soon became a crowd favourite at Portman Road thanks to his tireless displays. However, after suffering a serious knee injury against Burnley, which ruled him out of the remained of the 2008-09 season, Civelli underwent surgery and was expected to return in early 2010. But a setback in his recovery saw him fail to return until February 2011 and after just nine more substitute appearances, Civelli had his contract terminated the following summer. Showed much promise but the injury he suffered proved to be a costly one for Town.

What are you memories of Ipswich Town in the January transfer window? Let us know in the comment box below

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