Demolition Man's cull, 19 signings and sagas galore - how the most hectic transfer window in Ipswich Town history played out

It's been a hectic summer transfer window at Ipswich Town

It's been a hectic summer transfer window at Ipswich Town - Credit: Archant

The most hectic transfer window in Ipswich Town history has closed. Andy Warren looks at how a summer of change played out at Portman Road.

April 1: Paul Cook drops his first hint that he is planning a squad overhaul, saying: “I can guarantee our supporters that the summer is going to be exciting. It’s going to be vibrant. There’s going to be changes at the club that everyone will like. But can we do it as a Championship club? That's my challenge." Ultimately, of course, the Blues remained in League One.

April 7: Then, the news that changed everything. Marcus Evans sells Ipswich Town after 13 years at the helm, with a group of US investors taking control. Three Lions Brett Johnson, Berke Bakay and Mark Detmer are at the forefront of a takeover funded by the Arizona state pension fund, with Mike O'Leary arriving as Town's new chairman.

Ipswich Town's new co-owners Brett Johnson, Berke Bakay and Mark Detmer. Photo: Contributed

Ipswich Town were bought by American investors, including Brett Johnson, Berke Bakay and Mark Detmer, in April - Credit: Contributed

April 8: Departures begin the very next day with goalkeepers Adam Pryzbek and Harry Wright among a group of six players released. They ultimately joined Wycombe and Fleetwood respectively. Ben Folami, Allan Viral and Kai and Zak Brown both exit, too.

April 12: Cook ramps up his threat to the Ipswich Town players, insisting they 'either deliver or leave' the club in the summer.

April 13: The next big piece of the puzzle arrives, with new CEO Mark Ashton appointed. “I am delighted to be joining. There is a lot of hard work that lies ahead and I am genuinely excited at the opportunity to take the Club forward," Ashton said.

April 15: We reveal Alan Judge's Ipswich Town career is over, with the Irishman stood down from playing duty due to a clause in his contract which would have guaranteed an extra year with one more start.

Town manager Paul Cook with instructions to his players.

Paul Cook told the vast majority of his Ipswich squad they could leave - Credit: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

April 16: After several soft warnings, Cook throws in the hand grenade. “What you guys will now get is a million rumours because I will be like Demolition Man over the next six weeks," he says. “You will hear rumours one every player, every bust-up and everything that goes wrong. This is going to be a very unhappy club over the next two or three weeks because the changes are coming." He was true to his word.

April 28: Jordan Rhodes is linked with an Ipswich Town return, as he is in every transfer window. He was never a serious target and instead joined Huddersfield.

April 30: Town are linked with Owen Dale of Crewe. He's a player Town kept tabs on for much of the transfer window, right until the end, but never made a real move for.

May 5: We reveal Ipswich Town trio Luke Chambers, Cole Skuse and Freddie Sears could be set to move to Colchester United if they are released. They are and do. Stephen Ward leaves Ipswich early due to an extension clause in his contract which the club did not want to trigger.

May 9: Town are first linked with Dundee United goalkeeper Benjamin Siegrist, who they ultimately bid for before changing targets in order to land 'first choice' Vaclav Hladky.

Luke Chambers in an embrace with Cole Skuse after the final whistle.

Luke Chambers and Cole Skuse were released by Ipswich Town this summer - Credit: Steve Waller-www.stephenwaller.c

May 10: Cook delivers on his promise, releasing long-serving duo Luke Chambers and Cole Skuse, as well as player-of-the-year James Wilson, Sears, Emyr Huws and Tristan Nydam. Options are taken on Janoi Donacien, Aaron Drinan and Kayden Jackson while it's revealed Teddy Bishop has triggered a clause to extend his stay. Gwion Edwards is offered a new deal.

May 13: We exclusively reveal the full extent of the Ipswich Town bloodbath as 'Demolition Man' Cook tells almost every one of his remaining Ipswich players they are free to leave the club during the summer. They include prized youngsters Flynn Downes and Andre Dozzell.

May 16: We report Ipswich to be leading the chase for Luton Town captain Sonny Bradley, in what is a real statement of intent for the Blues. There was a sense Town thought they had their man at one stage, only for him to ultimately sign a new deal with the Hatters.

May 20: Wilson is the first released Ipswich player to get fixed up elsewhere, joining Plymouth Argyle.

James Wilson has joined Plymouth Argyle

James Wilson joined Plymouth after leaving Ipswich - Credit: Pagepix/PAFC

May 23: St Johnstone striker Guy Melamed is linked. He was never of interest to Ipswich. He remains a free agent.

May 25: Skuse's move to Colchester is confirmed.

May 26: It's revealed Ipswich made an ambitious approach for Rangers striker Jermain Defoe but were ultimately priced out of any deal due to the former England man's wage demands.

May 27: We report Ipswich Town interest in Sunderland pair Charlie Wyke and Max Power (who both eventually join Wigan), as well as Accrington forward Colby Bishop and Hull's Richie Smallwood. All four are players heavily discussed by Town but the trigger was never pulled.

May 30: Oxford midfielder Mark Sykes is linked by a national newspaper. There is no Ipswich interest in the player.

Mark Ashton first day 7

Mark Ashton, pictured on his first day as Ipswich Town CEO - Credit: Ross Halls

June 1: Ashton officially starts work at Portman Road. "Look, Paul (Cook's) been really clear on the type of player he wants, he's been clear on some of the targets he wants and the club have started to move on some of those targets. "I will take that over as of today, and I'd like to think that in the next week or so, we can get some of those across the line."

🚨 June 3: Ashton is true to his word as signing No.1 arrives. Wes Burns joins from Fleetwood for a fee understood to be in the region of £100,000.

🚨 June 4: We reveal signing No.2 as Lee Evans reunites with Paul Cook after leaving Wigan Athletic.

June 7: Luke Chambers agrees to sign for Colchester, we reveal. The move is confirmed three days later.

Wes Burns and Mark Ashton

Wes Burns was the first signing of the summer - Credit: Ipswich Town

June 8: A true transfer saga begins as we reveal Ipswich Town are set to bid for Rotherham United's Matt Crooks. The Blues do indeed make several bids, with Millers boss Paul Warne discussing the transfer in intricate detail on a regular basis. Ultimately, Town miss out to Championship side Middlesbrough. Town are also linked with Craig Macgillivray, who is leaving Portsmouth, but the Blues don't make a move.

June 10: We reveal Gwion Edwards has rejected a new deal with Ipswich Town and has agreed to join Wigan Athletic. Town make an offer for West Brom midfielder Rekeem Harper. Chambers joins Colchester.

June 11: Town terminate the contract of goalkeeper David Cornell. He had already agreed to join Peterborough United but the deal is not confirmed publicly for several weeks.

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June 13: We report QPR are close to sealing a move for Ipswich midfielder Andre Dozzell, who has a £1million buy-out clause in his contract. Also reported is Championship interest in Flynn Downes, with Barnsley and Peterborough keen.

June 14: We reveal Norwich City interest in academy midfielder Liam Gibbs, who turned down a stay with Ipswich and ultimately moved to the Canaries for a seven-figure compensation fee. It's reported Town are beaten to the signing of Jayden Stockley by Portsmouth but, while he was discussed by Town, he was never a major target. He actually ends up joining Charlton.

June 15: Dozzell completes his move to QPR, saying: "I'll always have love for Ipswich but it was time to move on." Sears joins Colchester.

Andre Dozzell has signed for QPR in a deal understood to be worth an initial £1m. Photo: QPR

Andre Dozzell joined QPR - Credit: QPR

June 18: Alan Judge is the latest ex-Ipswich player to move to Colchester. He, along with Chambers, had been subject of interest from Gillingham.

June 19: Town's move for Harper is held up by uncertainty at West Brom, with the Baggies without a manager or sporting director. The move is as good as done at this point, though, with all details agreed and usual 'scarf photos' taken.

June 20: Town are credited with interest in Birmingham's Sam Cosgrove, with the Blues having the striker on their list of targets. They don't push for him and he ultimately joins Shrewsbury on loan.

June 21: Oli Hawkins joins Mansfield for a small fee. His exit means all three of Paul Lambert's permanent signings from the summer of 2020 (Cornell and Ward) have now left the club.

June 23: Six senior playersFlynn Downes, Kayden Jackson, Myles Kenlock, Teddy Bishop, Armando Dobra and Jack Lankester - are slated to begin pre-season with the Blues' Under 23s and look to be heading to the exit. Dobra quickly returns to the first-team picture, with Jackson following soon after. We reveal Cambridge interest in Lankester, with the academy graduate ultimately making the move to the Abbey Stadium. Town's interest in Portsmouth's Michael Jacobs is revealed - it develops into another saga.

Rekeem Harper (centre) alongside chief executive Mark Ashton (left) and manager Paul Cook (right). Photo: ITFC

New Ipswich Town signing Rekeem Harper (centre) alongside chief executive Mark Ashton (left) and manager Paul Cook (right). Photo: ITFC - Credit: ITFC

🚨 June 25: Harper completes his move to Ipswich, saying: "I’m a fearless player who wants to excite people and bring results to the football club and help the team with whatever I can do on the pitch." Lankester joins Cambridge.

🚨 June 26: Town take everyone by surprise with the loan signing of boyhood-Ipswich fan and former academy player Macauley Bonne, who joins on loan from QPR. "'I'm a Town fan - it's a team I love," he says.

June 27: We reveal Town are close to adding Salford City goalkeeper Vaclav Hladky and released Sheffield Wednesday left-back Matt Penney as signings number five and six. We report Aaron Drinan is set for Leyton Orient while Cornell's move to Peterborough is confirmed.

🚨 June 28: The signing of Hladky is confirmed, as is Drinan's switch to Orient. Town remain in the mix for Crooks and are preparing to up their bid once again.

🚨 June 29: The signing of Penney is confirmed, with Cook insisting 'the deals haven't stopped yet'. He was right, of course.

Matt Penney has joined Ipswich Town on a two-year contract

Matt Penney signed a two-year deal with Ipswich Town - Credit: ITFC

July 2: We reveal Ipswich interest in Everton centre-back Lewis Gibson, with the Blues preferring a permanent move for a player who ultimately joins Sheffield Wednesday on loan. His contract with the Toffees expires next summer - don't rule out a renewed move from Ipswich then.

July 4: Town are first linked with a highly ambitious move for former loanee Bersant Celina. As we know, this one became another summer saga.

July 5: We reveal Town's interest in Middlesbrough left-back Hayden Coulson, a move which took more than a month to complete. Town have a second bid for Crooks rejected and we reveal interest in Arvin Appiah of Almeria. He's one Ipswich continued to check in on throughout the window but didn't push forward.

July 9: After a relatively quiet period, released defender Stephen Ward joins Walsall. Talk surrounding Crooks continues as the player heads to Hungary to train with Rotherham.

Joe Pigott and Mark Ashton

New Ipswich Town signing Joe Pigott, pictured alongside chief executive Mark Ashton. Photo: ITFC - Credit: ITFC

🚨 July 12: We reveal Ipswich are close to signing AFC Wimbledon striker Joe Pigott, with the deal completed a few hours later.

July 13: Bournemouth's interest in Flynn Downes is revealed, with the move significantly advanced before falling through.

🚨 July 14: Scott Fraser is signing No.8, joining from MK Dons.

July 18: Released goalkeeper Adam Przybek joins Wycombe Wanderers

July 20: Town admit defeat and move on to other targets as Crooks opts to sign for Middlesbrough

July 21: We report Teddy Bishop is close to joining Lincoln City

July 26: A busy morning as it's revealed Town are close to signing Barnsley's Conor Chaplin and George Edmundson of Rangers

🚨🚨 July 27: The deals for both Edmundson and Chaplin are completed before the pair are introduced to Ipswich fans at the evening friendly clash with Colchester. Bishop's move to Lincoln is confirmed.

New Ipswich Town signings Conor Chaplin and George Edmundson, pictured at Colchester

Conor Chaplin and George Edmundson arrived on the same day - Credit: ITFC

July 31: Tyreece Simpson joins Swindon Town on loan for the season

August 2: It's revealed long-time Town target Celina could be out of action for three months with a heart problem, linked to Covid. It seems certain Town's pursuit is over for the summer, with the deal likely to be revisited in January. But, as we know, things change.

🚨🚨 August 6: We reveal Town are closing in on both Aston Villa's Louie Barry and Portsmouth's Michael Jacobs. Barry's loan is completed that morning while Jacobs undergoes a medical and agrees terms after driving to Town's Playford Road training ground. The deal is not complete and another saga begins. Town do complete another signing by close-of-play, though, with Sone Aluko joining on a one-year deal. We reveal Swansea's interest in signing Ipswich midfielder Flynn Downes.

🚨🚨 August 9: Jacobs and his camp have heard nothing from Ipswich over the weekend, with the Blues changing course and swooping to sign Kyle Edwards once it became clear to Town the winger was available to them. Edwards' arrival ends Town's interest in the Portsmouth man before it's revealed the Blues have made a late play for Joe Morrell, who had previously been close to joining Pompey. Coulson completes his move to Portman Road as Morrell ultimately chooses Portsmouth over Town. Graeme Shinnie is reported as a possible midfield alternative.

August 10: Downes completes his move to Swansea and Danny Cowley discusses Jacobs' failed move to Ipswich. "I feel sorry for him but he will be welcomes back", he says.

August 14: As Town travel to Burton, it emerges the Blues are close to signing Accrington Stanley defender Cameron Burgess. He is with the Town squad at St George's Park to complete the move and have a medical.

Cameron Burgess applauds fans after the final whistle.

Cameron Burgess signed for Ipswich Town from Accrington Stanley - Credit: Steve Waller - www.stephenwaller

🚨 August 15: Burgess completes his move as Paul Cook reveals the defender will go straight into the starting line-up at Cheltenham. He's signing No.15.

🚨 August 16: Tom Carroll is the next through the door, signing a one-year deal with the club.

August 21: Corrie Ndaba joins Salford City on loan for the season

August 24: We reveal a queue of clubs are waiting to sign Armando Dobra, with Ipswich now willing to loan him out.

August 26: Brett McGavin is loaned to King's Lynn Town.

August 29: Town are battling to sign goalkeeper Christian Walton, while we reveal an ambitious enquiry for Middlesbrough's Sam Morsy.

🚨 August 30: Ipswich sign Walton on loan and are closing in on a deal for Celina, after he is given the all-clear following his illness. Ipswich face competition for Morsy. Dobra completes his move to Colchester despite late League One interest, with the deal to be announced on deadline day.

🚨 August 31: Town begin deadline day by announcing the eye-catching signing of Celina before Dobra's loan to Colchester is confirmed. Then, the icing on an already loaded cake as the move for Morsy is completed prior to the 11pm deadline. The window is closed, with 19 signings through the door.

Bersant Celina is back at Ipswich Town

Bersant Celina could make his second Ipswich Town debut at Lincoln tomorrow. - Credit: ITFC


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