Dozzell set for QPR, as Championship clubs show interest in Downes
- Credit: Archant
Ipswich Town's homegrown midfield duo of Andre Dozzell and Flynn Downes look set for Championship moves this summer.
The EADT and Ipswich Star understands that QPR are closing in on signing Dozzell, the 21-year-old believed to have a seven-figure buy-out clause in the long-term contract he signed in December last year.
Mark Warburton's side finished ninth in the season just gone, following a strong run-in, and have already signed loan striker Charlie Austin on a permanent basis.
Meanwhile, we can confirm reports from Football Insider that Barnsley are showing strong interest in Downes.
Barnsley, who have taken a data-driven approach to recruiting young players, finished fifth in the Championship last season before losing in the play-off semi-finals to Swansea.
And it's understood that the Tykes are not the only second-tier club preparing to make a move for the 22-year-old, who has made 100 appearances for Town.
Dozzell, born and raised in Ipswich, joined the club at the age of eight. He burst on the scene with a debut goal at the age of 16, just like his father Jason had done for the club, before suffering a cruciate knee ligament injury on the opening game of 2017/18.
The hotly-tipped playmaker, who regularly represented England from U16 to U20 level, found his chances limited upon his return to fitness before finally nailing down a starting spot in the season just gone, making 45 starts across all competitions as Town finished ninth in League One.
Essex-based Downes joined Ipswich at the age of seven. The combative midfielder made his senior debut when replacing the injured Dozzell in that aforementioned curtain-raiser of 2017, but really saw his career kick-on following a loan spell at then League Two side Luton Town in 2018.
After starting 21 games of Town's Championship relegation campaign of 2018/19, he was arguably the team's stand-out player when Paul Lambert's men finished 11th in the Covid curtailed League One season of 2019/20.
Downes subsequently handed in a transfer request after the club twice turned down bids in the region of £2m from Premier League club Crystal Palace, something he later said he had 'no regrets' about doing.
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Then, after being dropped for a few games, he soon picked up a knee injury and wasn't fit to start again until January.
Downes was handed the captain's armband for games against Blackpool and Northampton in February, but wasn't quite able to rediscover his previous form over the coming weeks and missed five more matches towards the back end of the campaign with a hamstring problem.
The former England U19 international is now heading into the final year of his contract, though Ipswich do have the option to extend that by a further 12 months.
Blues boss Paul Cook, fully backed by the club's new US-based owners and chief executive Mark Ashton, has made it clear that he wants to completely rebuild the squad this summer and only wants players that are 'totally committed'.
Town have already signed one central midfielder this summer, Lee Evans arriving on a Bosman free transfer from Wigan to be reunited with his former manager, while it's understood that the Blues are closing in on the permanent signing of West Brom youngster Rekeem Harper, a deal which would be seen as a real coup.