Ipswich Town refused to pay over the odds on transfer deadline day
IPSWICH Town manager Paul Jewell revealed the club missed out on transfer deadline day signings after sticking rigidly to their valuations of players and their wages.
The Blues boss was keen to strengthen his squad – particularly in defence – following a return of just eight Championship points from a possible 45.
However, he was not prepared to go above his valuations of players – either in terms of transfer fee or wages – meaning several deals fell through late on in the day.
A fee was agreed for a duo Portsmouth players – believed to be keeper Stephen Henderson and the versatile Joel Ward – but the players’ wage demands are understood to have been too high.
Scottish Falkirk decided to reject Town’s bid for teenage centre-back Murray Wallace – having initially accepted it – after the Blues decided they wanted their �300,000 transfer fee to be based largely on appearances. He ended up signing for League One side Huddersfield instead.
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And Stoke defender Danny Higginbotham rejected a loan move to Town, joining fellow Championship strugglers Nottingham Forest for a temporary spell instead.
It means that keeper Alex McCarthy (loan from Reading) and midfielder Ryan Stevenson (�50,000 from Hearts) are the only arrivals at Portman Road in the January transfer window.
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That was all overshadowed by a shock 5-1 win over Championship table-toppers West Ham though.
“It’s been a bit of a nightmare really,” said Jewell, who had an individual bid for Portsmouth centre-back Jason Pearce rebuffed.
“I thought we had at least two deals done, but when I arrived at the ground around 5.30pm they’d fallen through.
“We spent a lot of time and a lot of energy on it but it’s not to be.”
Town could still sign the Pompey pair – who Jewell didn’t name, but are believed to be Henderson and Ward – when the loan window opens again in a week’s time, subsequently wrapping up permanent moves in the summer.
Jewell isn’t ruling that out, but says he won’t pay over the odds for the pair.
“You never say never,” said the Blues boss. “We would have liked the players but at the moment it’s fallen through. I’m not going to point the finger at anyone, they’ve the right to say no.
“We’ve spent a lot of time and a lot of energy and it hasn’t got over the line, so we move on. Things may or may not be revisited.”
Jewell continued: “It’s so nonsensical, the transfer window. I said to Marcus (Evans) this afternoon, when we were talking about things breaking down, that we want to move the club a certain way and I think throwing money after things you’re not 100% sure about can be dangerous.
“We might have to take a bit of flak for it and a little bit of stick but we want to try and do the right thing for the long-term of the club.
“That doesn’t mean we’re paying people peanuts but at times we’ve all been guilty of paying over the odds for too many players, and I think football is counting the cost of that.”
Speaking of his failure to sign Murray – who looked around Ipswich on Monday – Jewell said: “We watched him on Sunday (against Celtic) and we’d agreed a fee. There’s a little bit more to this one than meets the eye.
“I think he might be a good player, one for the future, but we had a bit of a rethink on the deal. We tried to give them less money up front and more on appearances, but they didn’t want to do that, which you can understand. I think the lad was impressed with us, but there you go.
“We’re disappointed to be missing out on that in a way, but these things happen.”
The Town manager also confirmed that he had also looked at shorter term signings to tide the Blues over to the summer window, including Stoke’s Danny Higginbotham.
“I spoke to Danny yesterday but he doesn’t want to come on loan, he wants to move permanently,” said Jewell. “Things might change when the window closes and people haven’t got a club, I don’t know.”
Those comments came just minutes before it emerged that Higginbotham has signed for fellow struggling Championship side Nottingham Forest on a temporary basis.
Elsewhere, former Blues loanee Keith Andrews – who Jewell had wanted to sign permanently – has joined West Brom on a free transfer from Blackburn Rovers.