Ipswich Town’s interest in Ricardo Fuller ends as Paul Jewell refuses to panic buy

IPSWICH Town manager Paul Jewell’s interest in striker Ricardo Fuller has cooled as he continues to stick to a strict wage budget.

The Blues boss enquired about Fuller – a free agent after being released by Stoke City – earlier in the summer, with the 32-year-old Jamaican believed to be interested by a return to the club where he enjoyed a brief loan spell in 2006.

However, the EADT understands that more recent talks have fallen flat once figures began to be discussed.

Jewell admitted recently that he rushed into too many of his signings last summer, with the ‘free’ transfer additions of Ivar Ingimarsson, Nathan Ellington, Jimmy Bullard and – to a lesser extent – Lee Bowyer not proving good value for money.

This time around he has shown a lot more patience, sticking strictly to his transfer fee and wage valuations as he attempts to build a young squad full of hunger to play for the shirt.

It’s meant that a number of targets have joined Championship rivals, with ex-Manchester United goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszcack choosing Brighton and long-term Portsmouth targets Jason Pearce and Joel Ward ending up at Leeds and Crystal Palace respectively.

The EADT understands that enquiries about wingers Paul Gallagher (Leicester) and Alan Judge (Notts County) have not been followed up after both clubs quoted fees around the �1m mark, while Jewell continues to drive a hard bargain with Derby over transfer listed striker Steve Davies. Rams boss Nigel Clough wants around �1m for his wantaway frontman – who has just a year left on his contract – while the Blues are keen to push the price down nearer the �500,00 mark.

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New financial fair play rules will be gradually rolled out over the following four years, but the Blues are keen to reduce their losses sooner rather than later.

It means the Blues head into tonight’s opening pre-season match – against Helmond Sport in Holland (6pm GMT) – with just two new faces (Elliott Hewitt and Luke Chambers), compared to five at this time last year.

A squad of just 21 – including two unnamed triallists – flew out to the club’s base in Eindhoven on Sunday morning, with Jewell on record as saying he still wants to make at least four more additions before his side’s Championship opener on August 18.

And while there is likely to be at least one signing in the region of �500-750k, the rest will seemingly be free transfers and loanees.