Ipswich Town failed in late deadline day attempts to sign Conor Washington and Kyle Bennett
- Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images
Ipswich Town failed in late attempts to sign striker Conor Washington (QPR) and winger Kyle Bennett (Portsmouth) ahead of last night’s 11pm transfer deadline.
The EADT and Ipswich Star understands that the Blues tried to sign at least four different strikers following Daryl Murphy’s sudden £3m departure to Newcastle United last weekend.
A £1m bid for Marley Watkins (Barnsley) was rejected, while a seven-figure offer for Northern Ireland international Washington was also rebuffed.
QPR boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink brought in Guinea international striker Idrissa Sylla from Belgian side Anderlecht on Tuesday, pushing Washington further down the Loftus Road pecking order. The 24-year-old only arrived at the West London club from Peterborough in a £2.5m deal back in January, but has been restricted to just seven starts and 11 substitute appearances in the Championship.
The two clubs couldn’t, however, agree on a valuation as the clock ticked.
The Blues also lodged a bid for Portsmouth’s flying left-winger Bennett. Town have already done business with the League Two club once this summer, in signing centre-back Adam Webster (£700k), and they were keen on landing another player who had impressed against them in the FA Cup last season.
Pompey chief executive Mark Catlin denied rumours that the 25-year-old had handed in a transfer request back in June following the club’s fourth-tier play-off defeat. He arrived at Fratton Park last summer from Doncaster Rovers and is now in the final year of his deal.
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It’s understood that the south coast club weren’t willing to let Bennett go unless they had signed a replacement first.
Town owner Marcus Evans has been criticised by some Blues fans for only bringing in two loan players and a free transfer following Murphy’s £3m sale.
We understand, however, that the combined value of the three deals for winger Tom Lawrence (season-long loan from Leicester), midfielder Jonny Williams (season-long loan from Crystal Palace) and striker Leon Best (free agent) comes to around £2m when you take into account loan fees and wages.
Murphy was one of Town’s highest earners after he signed a new and improved two-year deal off the back of his 27-goal season in 2014/15. The Blues will have therefore saved themselves as much as £500k in wages over the next nine months as a result of his departure.
That meant there was a surplus of around £1.5m from the Murphy deal to play with, plus whatever else Evans wanted to invest within the restrictions of Financial Fair Play rules.
That would have priced Town out of a move, for example, for the likes of Derby’s Chris Martin. He made a late switch to Fulham on a season-long loan, the fee for which is a reported £2.5m.
Town boss Mick McCarthy, along with director of football Dave Bowman, have always given Evans their recommendations regarding top-end valuations of their transfer targets. The trio believe firmly in not paying over the odds.