Stuart Watson: Don’t panic! Ipswich Town shouldn’t be playing transfer catch-up like last summer

PUBLISHED: 12:46 01 July 2019 | UPDATED: 12:46 01 July 2019

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert speaks to the media at pre-season training. Photo: Ross Halls

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert speaks to the media at pre-season training. Photo: Ross Halls


So far this summer there have been 14 exits and two key arrivals at Portman Road. STUART WATSON looks at how the Blues’ business compares to past years and their League One rivals.

James Norwood announced the signing of James Norwood on June 10. Photo: ITFCJames Norwood announced the signing of James Norwood on June 10. Photo: ITFC


May and June are notoriously quiet months for transfers.

Footballers don't get long off. In the short off-season they head off on holidays, some get married and - if well coveted - assess their options.

Town signed 22 players before the month of July over the previous 10 summer transfer windows - an average of two.

Tomas Holy joined Ipswich Town on May 24. Photo: Ross HallsTomas Holy joined Ipswich Town on May 24. Photo: Ross Halls

At the time of writing, there have been 71 players signed by the 24 League One clubs so far this window - an average of three.

Town are not exactly lagging behind with the additions of James Norwood and Tomas Holy at this stage then. They are in talks with Bury winger Danny Mayor too.

Three in before Thursday's departure for the Germany training camp would represent speedy business.

Things tend to hot up from the middle of July onwards. As big deals happen higher up the pyramid, the domino effect begins.

Town's May/June additions 2008-2018: Trevoh Chalobah, Jordan Roberts, Joe Garner, Emyr Huws, Tom Adeyemi, Adam Webster, Paul Digby, Josh Yorwerth, Brett Pitman, Ryan Fraser, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Alex Henshall, Cole Skuse, Jay Tabb, Daryl Murphy, Elliott Hewitt, Michael Chopra, Ivar Ingimarsson, Nathan Ellington, Pim Balkestein, Gareth McAuley and Gavin Williams.


Town ended up scrambling last summer following the late appointment of Paul Hurst and subsequent late sales of Martyn Waghorn and Joe Garner. As a result, seven players were signed in August. Jon Nolan, Toto Nsiala and Kayden Jackson all arrived after the big kick-off. That's no way to bed in new players at a higher level.

Ipswich Town had been in talks with Bury winger Danny Mayor. Photo: PAIpswich Town had been in talks with Bury winger Danny Mayor. Photo: PA

It felt like the club was playing catch-up from the very off. It shouldn't have been that way given we all knew Mick McCarthy was departing at the end of March.

This summer's different. Paul Lambert has had months to assess his squad and formulate a plan. He's trimmed numbers on his own terms. And he shouldn't have to deal with any curve balls from here on.

Anything can happen in football, but right now you would say there are unlikely to be any surprise key exits. The only big question is whether Bartosz Bialkowski stays or goes.

The involvement of Lee O'Neill in his new role as general manager of football operations has created a slicker strategic operation too.

Trevoh Chalobah was Ipswich Town's first signing of last summer (June 25). Photo: ITFCTrevoh Chalobah was Ipswich Town's first signing of last summer (June 25). Photo: ITFC


MAY: McGoldrick, Hyam, Gleeson, Carayol, and Bru all released. Connolly, Celina, Carter-Vickers, Iorfa loans expire. Hurst appointed on 30th.

JUNE: Chalobah signed (25th), pre-season training starts, Webster sold (28th), Jordan Roberts signed (28th).

Toto Nsiala and Jon Nolan didn't arrive from Shrewsbury Town until August 8. Photo: ITFCToto Nsiala and Jon Nolan didn't arrive from Shrewsbury Town until August 8. Photo: ITFC

JULY: Edwards signed (17th), Harrison signed (23rd), Donacien signed (31st).

AUGUST: Edun signed (3rd), season starts, Waghorn sold (8th), Nolan and Nsiala signed (8th), Jackson signed (9th), Garner sold (9th), permanent transfer window closes, Graham signed (28th), Walters signed (30th), Pennington signed (31st).


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Town have landed two key pieces of the jigsaw in Norwood and Alan Judge. The latter's signing on a permanent basis towards the back of last season should not be overlooked in terms of significance and budget.

Lambert now has a first team squad of 25. That's a good number. There are least two players for most positions. It will be a tight-knit camp. Everyone will feel involved.

That's not to say the work is done. Certain areas of the squad still need strengthening if the Blues are to be truly competitive in what will be an even busier schedule.

Some competition for Myles Kenlock at left-back looks a must, while a striker and/or a left-sided front man would add some depth to the attack.

As and when new faces arrive, that could lead to one or two subsequently leaving. That all depends if significant upgrades can be found within budget.

There's no need to rush. Lambert can first assess those who have returned from loan and the progress of youngsters. He may yet decide that some solutions are already under his nose.

This transfer window, after the ridiculous turnover of last, was always going to be about adding quality rather quantity.


Peterborough and Coventry have been the two most active League One clubs in the transfer window so far, both making eight additions.

Gillingham (7), Tranmere (6), Portsmouth (5), MK Dons (5), Blackpool (4), Bristol Rovers (4) and Shrewsbury (4) have also been busy doing deals.

Bolton and Bury - both set to start next season with 12-point deductions following financial problems - have, unsurprisingly, brought in no-one. Title favourites Sunderland and Rochdale are the other clubs yet to recruit.

It's all change at the two beaten play-off semi-finalists. Doncaster need a new manager following Grant McCann's move to Hull. Expect Portsmouth to continue spending after the sale of Matt Clarke and likely departure of Jamal Lowe.


This is the first summer for the new split Football League transfer window.

The Championship window will shut at the same time as the Premier League (August 8). It remains open until September 2 for League One and Two clubs.

Most loans filtering down from the top two divisions into the bottom two divisions are therefore unlikely to start happening until the season is underway. Clubs in the top two tiers will wait and see what they get in before they start letting youngsters and fringe players out.

Lambert has repeatedly made it clear that he wants to greatly reduce the club's recent reliance on temporary deals, but hasn't ruled them out completely.

Improving an area of the team with a talented player Town couldn't otherwise afford is definitely an option.


INS (3): James Norwood (Tranmere, Bosman free), Tomas Holy (Gillingham, Bosman free), Adam Przybek (West Brom, free).

OUTS (14): Dean Gerken (released), Jordan Spence (released), James Bree (loan expired), Matthew Pennington (loan expired), James Collins (released), Jonas Knudsen (released, signed for Malmo), Callum Elder (loan expired), Trevoh Chalobah (loan expired), Tom Adeyemi (released), Grant Ward (released), Simon Dawkins (released), Ellis Harrison (Portsmouth, £500k), Will Keane (loan expired), Collin Quaner (loan expired).


Bialkowski, Holy; Emmanuel, Donacien, Chambers, Nsiala, Woolfenden, Ndaba, Kenlock; Judge, Skuse, Nolan, Bishop, Downes, Dozzell, Nydam, El Mizouni, Huws; Edwards, Lankester, Rowe; Norwood, Jackson, Sears, Roberts.

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