One in, one out and the deals that didn’t happen at Ipswich Town on deadline day
- Credit: Archant
It was a case of one in, one out at Portman Road on transfer deadline day. ANDY WARREN takes a look at the final day of Ipswich Town’s January window.
Lucky number seven?
The Blues’ only incoming business on transfer deadline day saw Aston Villa right-back James Bree join on loan until the end of the season.
He becomes Ipswich’s seventh January signing, following the arrivals of Callum Elder, Will Keane, Collin Quaner, Simon Dawkins, James Collins and Alan Judge.
Bree has made 11 appearances for Villa this season, six coming in starts, but had found himself firmly behind Scotland international Alan Hutton in the pecking order at Villa Park.
“It’s a great opportunity for me getting out on loan to a big club like this,” Ipswich’s new No.41 said.
“I’ve been involved with Villa a bit this season but not as much as I would have liked so I really want to be playing regular first-team football. Hopefully I can get that here and get back to the level I want to be at.
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“There are some really good lads here and from the performances I’ve seen I know that there is quality in this team – hopefully we can show that to stay up.
“It’s only been two weeks since I last played a proper game too. I’m feeling fit and sharp and I’m ready to get back out there.”
Bree joined Villa from Barnsley for a fee of £3million in 2017, having helped the Tykes win promotion from League One, and is contracted to the club until the summer of 2021.
He now moves to Portman Road, where he fills a right-back hole identified by Ipswich boss Paul Lambert soon after his arrival at the end of October.
Earlier in the day the Blues were linked with a move for Norwich right-back Ivo Pinto, who is out of contract in the summer and available on a free transfer.
That reported interest came to nothing, with Bree a target from early on in the day.
Pennington staying put
The arrival of Bree takes Ipswich’s army of loanees to six, with only five able to be included in any given matchday squad.
Lambert has stressed throughout the transfer window that this was a situation he was keen to avoid, but the Ipswich boss will now have decisions to make on a weekly basis.
There were question marks over the future of Matthew Pennington throughout deadline day, with Derby County keen to bring the defender to Pride Park if Ipswich were willing to let him go.
The Blues opted to keep hold of the Everton player, though, following conversations involving Ipswich, the Toffees and the player himself.
Knudsen’s still a Blue
Danish defender Jonas Knudsen has not played for Ipswich throughout January, with Lambert removing him from active duty due to the Dane’s desire to seek a new challenge elsewhere.
However, the Blues heard nothing throughout the January window despite prior interest from clubs in the Championship, Germany and his native Denmark.
Lambert believes the Dane, who is out of contract at the end of the season, received bad advise from his agent but would not be drawn on whether there is any way Knudsen can be reintegrated into his starting XI, now he will remain in Suffolk until the summer.
Deals that didn’t happen
Ellis Harrison was the subject of early deadline day interest from League One promotion chasers Portsmouth, who were also keen on the striker prior to his move to Portman Road in the summer.
However, Pompey’s main target was always Wigan’s James Vaughan and, once they had secured his services, their interest in Harrison ended.
“Ellis has done well for us and I need four centre-forwards, which I think is important,” Lambert said, when asked about Harrison.
“We can’t just let anybody go out because things can happen injury-wise with a lot of games to play.”
Irish right-back Barry Cotter was a target of League Two Swindon in what is understood to have been a permanent move, but it was ultimately not pursued further.
The one player who did depart Portman Road on deadline day was Irish midfielder Shane McLoughlin.
The 21-year-old joined AFC Wimbledon on a free transfer, signing an 18-month deal to bring his stay with Ipswich to an end.
In total, McLoughlin made just two appearances for the Blues and will now have the opportunity to kick-start his career in League One.