Deals hijacked, unhappy family members, unacceptable valuations - Paul Jewell explains why he has missed out on his top transfer targets

FRUSTRATED Ipswich Town manager Paul Jewell says signing players is harder than many people think.

The Blues boss admits he missed out on many of his top targets last summer for a variety of reasons.

Instead he ended up building a squad packed with loanees and ageing players on short-term contracts.

The mix – he admits – hasn’t been right and the club finds itself just four points above the relegation zone.

Now trying to build for the future by bringing in some young talent, the January transfer window has again proved frustrating.


You may also want to watch:


During an exclusive interview with the EADT this week – more of which can be read in tomorrow’s paper – the exasperated Blues boss indicated to a stack of A4 pages on his desk at the club’s Playford Road training ground.

“I’ve got a list there full with hundreds of players names,” said Liverpudlian, with the look of a man with the world on his shoulders.

Most Read

“We watch them and watch them; make offers for these players, but the problem is that then draws in bids from elsewhere.

“All of a sudden that player – who looked in reach – goes to a Premier League club.

“I don’t want to tell you all the names we went for last summer, but I think it was well documented that we went for the likes of (Matt) Upson, who went to Stoke, and (Daniel) Ayala, who went to Norwich.”

Checking his phone between questions to see if a player’s representative had got back to him, Jewell continued: “I’ll strangle the next agent who tells me their player ‘just wants to play’.

“They all say that, but then there are always plenty more obstacles in the way.

“You wouldn’t believe some of the reasons I get given, late in a deal, for a player not wanting to come here. Family members suddenly deciding their son can’t live so far away.

“There are so many people claiming to represent players and clubs these days – I can’t begin to explain how tiresome and how time consuming it can begin to get.

“In the past you used to just ring up another manager, agree a price and the player would jump in their car and be on their way. It’s like that any more, there’s so much red tape.”

He added: “I think there’s also a misconception that Ipswich blow people out of the water when it comes to wages – we don’t.

“We’re not poor payers, but we’re not in the league that people seem to think we are.

“Deals don’t happen sometimes because everyone has to have a price. We are in an economic slump here and football isn’t above that.

“I will always tell the owner when a player is not worth a certain amount. I’ve got a responsibility to do so.

“I can assure you though that no player has slipped through our net through lack of trying.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter