Hits, misses, sagas and rumours - Grading every Ipswich Town January transfer window since 2006
- Credit: Archant/PA/ITFC
The January transfer window has closed for another year.
Town have been active this month, bringing in Christian Walton from Brighton on a permanent deal and securing the loan signings of Tyreeq Bakinson (Bristol City) and Dominic Thompson (Brentford).
There have been exits, too. Most-notably Scott Fraser’s departure for Charlton.
But how does the club’s business last month compare to windows past?
The January transfer window first applied to EFL clubs during the 2005/06 season, prior to which clubs outside the Premier League were free to trade players all the way up to the end of March.
Indeed, even as recently as the 2015/16 campaign, clubs such as Town were able to loan players in and out until that March deadline.
That means the January window has taken on more significance as time has gone on.
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So, let’s take a look back at every Ipswich Town January window and hand out some grades.
IN: Alan Lee (Cardiff City, £100,000), Gavin Williams (West Ham United, £300,000), Vemund Brekke Skard (Brumunddal, free), Adam Proudlock (Sheffield Wednesday, undisc)
OUT: Liam Craig (Falkirk, free), Gerard Nash (Hartlepool, loan), Dean Bowditch, Aidan Collins (both Wycombe Wanderers, loan)
Ipswich Town’s first ever January window was a good one.
Loan moves could still be done outside of January, but the Blues moved to sign Gavin Williams and Alan Lee on full-time deals.
The latter of those two players became a firm favourite, scoring 34 goals in more than 100 games during his two-and-a-half years with the club.
Yes, this was a January window, but it’s safe to say, away from the Premier League, it wasn’t as hyped as the Januarys we’re used to now.
Things would soon change, though.
IN: Jon Walters (Chester City, initial £150,000), Gary Roberts (Accrington Stanley, loan made permanent for £200,000), David Wright (Wigan Athletic, undisc), George O’Callaghan (Cork City, undisc)
OUT: Aidan Collins (Cambridge United, free), Martin Brittain (Yeovil Town, loan)
January of 2007 was notable as five first-team players, including Lee and Gary Roberts, were disciplined following their unauthorised trip to Amsterdam.
There was also the real prospect of Colchester United moving to Portman Road, should they win promotion to the Premier League. That seems an odd one now.
The U’s were sixth in the Championship at the time and about to leave Layer Road, but weren’t yet ready to move into their new home.
But it also brought three decent incomings, as Jon Walters, Gary Roberts and David Wright all arrived at the club. Roberts’ deal was a loan made permanent.
Walters, signed from Chester, was the biggest hit. He went on to score 32 goals and eventually being sold to Stoke for £3m.
There were also links to a possible loan return for Pablo Counago from Malaga, as well as transfer interest in Steve Kabba of Sheffield United and Rotherham’s Will Hoskins.
IN: Alan Quinn (Sheffield United, undisc), Velice Sumulikoski (Bursaspor, £650,000), David Norris (Plymouth Argyle, £2m), Nick Colgan (free agent), Stephen Bywater (Derby, loan)
OUT: Neil Alexander (Rangers, £500,000), George O’Callaghan (Cork City, free), Jaime Peters (Yeovil Town, loan), Billy Clarke, Shane Supple (both Falkirk, loan)
The first transfer window of the Marcus Evans era certainly brought expectation. Ipswich had money to spend and were certainly intent on splashing the cash.
Nothing illustrates that point quite like Jim Magilton’s pursuit of David Norris which, after plenty of twists and turns, ultimately ended with the Blues landing the Plymouth man for a fee north of £2million.
Did they overpay? Probably. Did it feel like that mattered? Not one bit. Alan Quinn and Velice Sumulikoski both arrived for significant fees, too. Ipswich fans weren’t used to this.
Town also had offers for Leicester’s Gareth McAuley turned down, before eventually getting him in the summer,
Ipswich did lose Neil Alexander during this month, a player who made such an impression between the sticks during six months in Suffolk. Town couldn’t stop him achieving a dream of playing for Rangers.
IN: Luiciano Civelli (Banfield, £1m)
OUT: Richard Naylor (Leeds United, free), Chris Casement (Wycombe Wanderers, loan), Jaime Peters (Gillingham, loan), Jordan Rhodes (Brentford, loan), Dan Harding (Reading, loan)
January was a quiet one at Portman Road, with the only incoming being the £1million signing of Luciano Civelli from Banfield. His career at Portman Road was a sad one, with a bucket load of promise wiped out by a horrible knee injury which eventually ended his stay at the club.
There was a significant outgoing, with Wembley hero Richard Naylor’s long career with Town coming to an end as he moved to Leeds.
IN: Daryl Murphy (Sunderland, loan), David Healy (Sunderland, loan)
OUT: Alex Bruce (Leicester City, loan), Tamas Priskin (QPR, loan)
All of Town’s incoming transfer business went down to deadline day, when a pair of Sunderland strikers arrived on loan.
One of them, Daryl Murphy, went on to become a fixtures with the Blues for many years, leading the scoring charts as Town made the Championship play-offs in 2015 with 27 goals. An excellent addition.
Dele Adebola (Nottingham Forest) and Kevin Kilbane (Hull) were targets who weren’t ultimately signed.
IN: Jimmy Bullard (Hull City, loan), Andy Drury (Luton Town, £150,000)
The month began with Roy Keane being sacked and replaced by Paul Jewell, who moved quickly to bring in one of his former charges.
The centre-piece of the 2011 window saw Jimmy Bullard arrive from Hull. He was the spark Ipswich needed as he eventually went on to win the club’s player-of-the-year award.
But this was the month of Charlie Austin. Town agreed a £1.5million deal with Swindon for the striker but couldn’t agree personal terms, despite him being at Portman Road for several hours. He joined Burnley and has been scoring goals ever since.
The Blues also spent much of the month trying to sign Pascal Chimbonda from Blackburn. He moved to QPR instead.
Town rejected Portsmouth’s offer for David Norris, with the skipper joining the Fratton Park club in the summer instead.
VVV Venlo striker Ruud Boymans was linked with Ipswich.
IN: Ryan Stevenson (Hearts, £50,000), Alex McCarthy (Reading loan)
OUT: Tamas Priskin (Alania Vladikavkaz, free), Ronan Murray (Swindon Town, loan), Ivar Ingimarsson (retired)
This was a bit of a nightmare window for Town as they were rejected by clubs and players, left, right and centre.
Town tried to add three Portsmouth players to the squad during January, agreeing fees for Joel Ward and Stephen Henderson but failing to agree personal terms, while bids for Jason Pearce were rejected.
Ipswich also agreed a £300,000 fee with Falkirk for centre-half Murray Wallace but, again, couldn’t complete the deal. He joined Huddersfield instead and is now at Millwall.
Then there was Nick Powell at Crewe, who Town bid for. He eventually moved to Manchester United.
Swindon pair Matt Ritchie and Paul Caddis were also players Town bid for, with the Wiltshire side knocking back the offers in a season they ultimately won the League Two title.
Ipswich did sign Ryan Stevenson from Hearts but, despite some positive signs, didn’t make a lasting impact.
IN: Frank Nouble (Wolverhampton Wanderers, undisc), Anthony Wordsworth (Colchester United, undisc), Patrick Kisnorbo (Leeds United, loan), Aaron McLean (Hull City, loan), David McGoldrick (Nottingham Forest, loan), Richard Stearman (Wolverhampton Wanderers, loan), Stephen Henderson (West Ham United, loan)
OUT: Nigel Reo-Coker (mutual consent), Jason Scotland (Barnsley, free), Nathan Ellington (mutual consent), Ronan Murray (Plymouth Argyle, loan)
Mick McCarthy’s first window in charge saw him move players on and bring in a succession of others, with the haul ultimately bringing David McGoldrick to the club on loan.
That proved to be very good business.
McCarthy said he wanted to recruit more heavily in the summer, rather in January, but still brought plenty of bodies through the door. None had the lasting impact of McGoldrick, though.
The likes of Thomas Eisfeld (Arsenal), Kieron Freeman (Derby), Lee Camp (Nottingham Forest), Moses Odubajo (Leyton Orient), Keiren Westwood (Sunderland), Lewis Dunk (Brighton) and Danny Batth (Wolves) were all linked.
Kieron Dyer was training with Town after leaving QPR but didn’t sign a deal.
DJ Campbell, who has scored 10 goals in 17 Ipswich games, went back to QPR and then joined Blackburn.
IN: Frazer Richardson (Middlesbrough, loan)
OUT: Jack Marriott (Gillingham, then Woking – both loan)
Ultimately, there was nothing really to see in a window which yielded very little. Mick McCarthy said he wanted defensive cover and got it, in the form of Richardson.
The Blues did lose loanee Ryan Tunnicliffe, who was recalled by Manchester United and then sold to Fulham, while also resisting interest from Crystal Palace and Swansea for David McGoldrick.
Striker Kevin Doyle and defenders Chris Baird and Danny Gabbidon were among those linked.
IN: Freddie Sears (Colchester United, £150,000), Noel Hunt (Leeds United, free), Paddy Kenny (Bolton Wanderers, free)
OUT: Frederic Veseli (Port Vale, free), Balint Bajner (Notts County, free), Alex Henshall (Blackpool, loan), Anthony Wordsworth (Crawley Town, loan), Jack Marriott (Colchester United, loan)
Ah, January of 2015. The January which will be remembered for what Town didn’t do, rather than what they did.
Town went top of the Championship on Boxing Day but, rather than splash out on a marquee signing to help guide them home (think Marcus Stewart in 2000), Mick McCarthy tinkered around the edges. Owner Marcus Evans later insisted this was McCarthy’s decision, rather than a lack of funds from the top.
Freddie Sears was the big signing, hitting the ground running and certainly proving worth the £150,000 paid for him. That alone makes it more profitable than many of the windows on this list. It wasn’t enough, though, as Town fellow away.
It must be noted that Town did sign Richard Chaplow, Chris Wood (now a £25m player), Jonny Williams, Luke Varney and Zeki Fryers on loan once the January window had closed. They didn’t make the difference, though.
This will always be the January that got away.
IN: Kevin Foley (free agent), Paul Digby (Barnsley, loan)
OUT: Jack Collison (released), Jonathan Parr (Stromsgodset, undisc), Tommy Oar (released), James Alabi (released), Michael Crowe (Braintree, loan), Alex Henshall (released)
An unremarkable January, in what was the final season of teams being able to add loaness outside of the transfer window. Town duly did this with deals for Ben Pringle and Liam Feeney.
Kevin Foley was an interesting one, with Mick McCarthy’s former Wolves right-back joining on loan for the rest of the season but having an outstanding game in the middle of midfield at Bristol City. He barely featured there again, though.
Winger Jerome Thomas trained with the Blues but wasn’t offered a deal, while Bradley Dack, Chuks Aneke, Darren Pratley, Fraizer Campbell were all linked.
There’s not a lot left to say.
IN: Kieffer Moore (Forest Green Rovers, £10,000), Jordan Spence (free agent), Steven Taylor (Portland Timbers, free), Danny Rowe (Macclesfield Town, undisc), Emyr Huws (Cardiff City, loan), Toumano Diagouraga (Leeds United, loan), Dominic Samuel (Reading, loan)
OUT: Luke Varney (Burton Albion, loan)
The big bang of this window was the arrival of Emyr Huws, who produced some memorable moments against Villa and Newcastle and ultimately moved to Town full-time in the summer following his loan. That’s when the injury nightmare began.
Little good came from the other January arrivals, aside from Jordan Spence and Danny Rowe having moments in the following years, though the Blues were able to turn an excellent profit on Kieffer Moore just a year later.
The first link of the month was to Oli Hawkins, then of Dagenham, who the Blues would ultimately sign as a free agent three-and-a-half years later.
Familiar names Max Power, Marley Watkins, Will Grigg, Danny Ward, Jordan Hugill, Matt Taylor and Omar Bogle were all linked.
This window was most-notable, though, for the last-minute drama surrounding captain Luke Chambers, which ultimately saw him remain at Portman Road despite last-minute interest from former club Nottingham Forest.
IN: Stephen Gleeson (Birmingham City, free), Mustapha Carayol (Nottingham Forest, free), Barry Cotter (Limerick, £50,000), Chris Goteni (Saint-Apollinaire, free), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham Hotspur, loan), Aaron Drinan (Waterford, £50,000)
OUT: Kierffer Moore (Barnsley, £750,000), Tommy Smith (Colorado Rapids, free), Flynn Downes (Luton Town, loan), Danny Rowe (Lincoln City, loan), Adam McDonnell, George Fower (both Aldershot Town, free)
Town were hovering around the middle of the Championship table, with Mick McCarthy’s future looming large.
His final window in charge saw him bring in nobody of any long-term consequence to the Blues, though Muzzy Carayol had some exceptional moments and Cameron Carter-Vickers added some temporary quality.
How big an asset could Kieffer Moore have been to the Blues, had he not been pushed out of the door to Barnsley? We’ll never know the answer to that, but he’s joined Bournemouth for more than £5million.
Other links included midfielder Adlene Guedioura, free agent winger David Cotterill, Devante Cole of Fleetwood.
Town kept hold of Bartosz Bialkowski during this window despite interest from Crystal Palace and a reported £4million price tag. He ultimately left on loan 18 months later before being sold for a fraction of that big fee.
IN: Janoi Donacien (Accrington Stanley, £750,000), Simon Dawkins (free agent), James Collins (free agent), Alan Judge (Brentford, nominal), Callum Elder (Leicester City, loan), Will Keane (Hull City, loan), Collin Quaner (Huddersfield Town, loan), James Bree (Aston Villa, loan)
OUT: Janoi Donacien (Accrington Stanley, loan), Danny Rowe (Lincoln City, loan), Jordan Roberts, Lincoln City, loan), Shane McLoughlin (AFC Wimbledon)
Town needed to do something in order to put up a fight against relegation which they, of course, ultimately lost.
They were linked with plenty of players, including Rudy Gestede, Grant Leadbitter, Anthony Pilkington, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Lee Hodson, Carl Jenkinson and Ivo Pinto.
But all they could ultimately manage was to sign players struggling for games elsewhere. They took too long to get up to speed.
Will Keane and Alan Judge ultimately proved decent enough business, extending their stays when the summer came around, but Simon Dawkins, Collin Quaner, James Bree and Callum Elder didn’t make anywhere near enough of a difference. The latter may have proven useful had they managed to get him to stick around for the League One reset.
Had James Collins managed to get himself fit enough to play more than the six games his body allowed him to play, things could have been different.
Grade: F+ (is that a thing?)
IN: Josh Earl (Preston North End, loan)
OUT: Bartosz Bialkowski (Millwall, £600,000), Toto Nsiala (Bolton, loan), Jordan Roberts (Gillingham, loan), Aaron Drinan (Ayr, loan), Idris El Mizouni (Cambridge United, loan), Ben Folami (Stevenage, loan)
There’s not a lot to say, here.
Josh Earl’s biggest contribution was to suffer a broken cheekbone which required him to wear a Phantom of the Opera-style mask. Lambert never worked out which position he wanted the defender to play.
Paul Lambert had spent the month discussing how Town would need to sell in order to do any ‘significant’ business – and so it proved. He did later, though reveal he had made what seemed an incredibly unlikely approach to sign Conor Wickham and his massive contract on loan from Crystal Palace.
Bartosz Bialkowski’s exit to Millwall, following an initial loan, was also confirmed, while the Blues rejected deadline day offers from Brighton for Armando Dobra.
IN: Luke Thomas (Barnsley, loan), Troy Parrott (Tottenham Hotspur, loan), Josh Harrop (Preston North End, loan), Luke Matheson (Wolverhampton Wanderers, loan)
OUT: Corrie Ndaba (Ayr United, loan), Adam Przybek (Chesterfield, loan), Janoi Donacien (Fleetwood, loan), Idris El Mizouni, (Grimbsy Town, loan), Brett McGavin (Ayr United, loan)
A raft of loan signings were made as Paul Lambert searched for a spark. He certainly didn’t find it.
Troy Parrott was the biggest contributor, scoring twice, but Josh Harrop and Luke Thomas offered next to nothing, while Luke Matheson gave perhaps the best new signing interview of all time before fading into the background.
In terms of exits, loaning Janoi Donacien out once again, in true Lambert style, now seems a mistake.
IN: Christian Walton (Brighton, undisc), Tyreeq Bakinson (Bristol City, loan), Dominic Thompson (Brentford, loan), Nick Hayes (Hemel, undisc)
OUT: Scott Fraser (Charlton, £500k), Tomas Holy (Port Vale, loan), Toto Nsiala (Fleetwood, nominal), Myles Kenlock (Colchester, loan), Rekeem Harper (Crewe, loan), Jon Nolan (contract terminated), Louie Barry (loan terminated), Hayden Coulson (loan terminated), Bailey Clements (Stevenage, loan), Ben Morris (GAIS, loan), Matt Healy (Cork City, loan)
And so we reach this year’s window which, in reality, isn’t really fare to judge just yet.
The full-time signing of Walton is brilliant business, setting Town up in a vital position for many years to come, while locking in Macauley Bonne’s temporary move from QPR is important, too.
Bakinson and Thompson aren’t yet up to speed, while many of the exits is mainly trimming around the edges and moving on players not involved in Kieran McKenna’s plans.
The big departure is Scott Fraser, though, whose exit splits opinion. A talented player moved on too soon or a quick, ruthless decision which will work on in the long-run.
Only time will tell on that one.