Town will need to make some tough decisions when it comes to out-of-contract players
PUBLISHED: 06:00 16 May 2020
Ipswich Town remain in conversation with five players heading towards the end of their deals. Here we look at the individual cases of those five players.
Ipswich Town remain in conversation with their five players heading towards the end of their deals.
Cole Skuse, Will Keane, Gwion Edwards, Danny Rowe and Jordan Roberts see their deals expire at the end of June, will all five having options for a 12-month extension.
It’s understood, though, that Town are looking to agree new contracts with the players they wish to keep, rather than simply take up their option.
The coronavirus crisis has complicated the issue, given the financial losses being incurred by the club and the fact it’s unclear when the game can return, but it’s understood the Blues are still hopeful of keeping those players identified by manager Paul Lambert as having a role to play in the future.
It may just be that they would need to accept lesser terms or play the waiting game when it comes to securing their futures.
Here we look at the individual cases of those five players.
The Blues had been in discussions with their veteran midfielder for several weeks, if not months, prior to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
Ipswich wanted to do a deal, Skuse wanted to do a deal and both sides were confident one would get done. The 34-year-old feels like he has ‘plenty in the tank’ in terms of his playing career but his new deal was also set to include the beginnings of his life after football.
It’s clear that, under Lambert, his days as the first midfield name on the team-sheet may be drifting away, but that’s not to say he didn’t offer plenty during 2019/20 in his usual understated way.
He’s a good influence in the dressing room and will be a valuable addition to Town’s off-field operation, be that coaching young players or working as a club ambassador.
His on-field role, should his contract be extended, is an interesting one to ponder. There are scenarios where you could see him playing a central role once again, should Flynn Downes depart for instance, or become a dependable squad player should Emyr Huws grow closer to his best and make the deeper midfield role his own. Or is it time for change?
A lot has changed since the two parties started negotiating a new deal and it remains to be seen if his seven-year association with the club is extended.
The former Manchester United striker has now played more games for Ipswich Town than he has for any of the other six clubs he’s represented during his career.
The reason he was only given a one-year deal last summer was his injury record, which had seen him struggle to remain fit throughout his career. Had it not been for a hamstring injury which robbed him of a pre-season and left him clubless into August, he may have been out of Ipswich’s range a year ago.
But things went well in that regard during 2019/20, once he was up to speed by September, with the frontman making 29 appearances in all competitions. He scored six goals, making the season the most prolific of his career to date
That’s where much of the debate surrounding Keane lies. Is he enough of a goal threat? Does his cultured all-round game and ability to bring others into play compensate enough for the fact he doesn’t find himself on the end of chances as regularly as James Norwood or Kayden Jackson?
Those are the questions needing to be answered before the Blues and Keane make their decision.
It was perhaps a little surprising that the Welshman was given only a two-year deal after Paul Hurst spent £700,000, when the likes of Kayden Jackson, Toto Nsiala, Janoi Donacien and Jon Nolan were all given three, but here we are at the end of the winger’s initial contract.
He started with a bang before fizzling out in his debut season and was in-and-out of Lambert’s side in his more natural position during 2019/20. He did, though, become Lambert’s preferred deputy once Kane Vincent-Young was no longer available at right wing-back, with Edwards growing into his role there as time went on.
He’s keen to stay at the club and, given the fact he can cause real trouble on his day and has served Lambert well, it would be a surprise if he was allowed to leave for free.
The winger has been with the Blues since January 2017 but hasn’t ever been able to fully establish himself under his three managers at Ipswich.
In total he’s made just 11 league starts for the club and, while showing flashes of what he’s capable of under Mick McCarthy, Paul Hurst and Paul Lambert, it’s never happened for him on a consistent basis.
That was the case in 2019/20 as he rotated in and out of the side before suffering a knee injury which has kept him out of action since the start of December.
With Jack Lankester returning to full fitness after a long-term back injury, it may just be only one of the out-of-contract wingers is retained for next season. If that were the case, the 28-year-old’s future at Ipswich would surely be in doubt.
It looks as if Robert’s two-year stay at Ipswich will come to an end when his deal expires next month.
The forward, signed as a winger by Hurst but utilised as a striker by Lambert has played just a single minute of league football this season and was on loan at Gillingham prior to football’s suspension in the middle of March.
That loan was terminated and he’s now back with the Blues, but it would be a major surprise if his stay was extended.
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