Ipswich Town will only pay ‘realistic’ money, says Paul Jewell

ONLY players with ‘realistic’ wage demands will put pen-to-paper at Ipswich Town this summer, according to manager Paul Jewell.

With new Financial Fair Play rules set to start next season, clubs across the Football League will be looking to reduce their wage bills come the end of the campaign. And Town chief executive Simon Clegg has recently confirmed that it will be no different at Portman Road.

The Blues have had to stick to their principles when targeting players this season. In January they decided that League Two club Crewe had put too high a valuation on teenager Nick Powell, while the Suffolk club baulked at the wage demands of Portsmouth duo Stephen Henderson and Joel Ward on transfer deadline day.

“I know that the wage bill will be affected by financial fair play – we won’t be the only ones,” said Jewell. “We’ve all got to abide by the rules and I think players and agents are going to have to be more realistic with their demands.

“Port Vale are going into administration, Rangers have, Portsmouth have, this club did not so long ago. The most important thing is the future of the club.

“We want to be in the Premier League, but you’ve got to be careful and not spend money that you haven’t got or you’re not allowed to spend.”

Keeping an eye on the budget will also have an impact on the players who are nearing the end of their contracts at Town.

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Included among the nine players in the final four months of their deals is the senior quartet of Carlos Edwards, Jason Scotland, Lee Bowyer and Ibrahima Sonko.

Asked if there might be some free transfer Bosman departures at the club – just as there were with key duo Gareth McAuley and David Norris last summer – Jewell said: “It’s a possibility.

“I know Gareth McAuley is doing well (at Premier League club West Brom), but Portsmouth (Norris’ sclub) have their problems.

“Listen, at the end of the day, it’s something that is not always in my hands. We’ve only got so much to spend and we’ve only got so much we can pay the players. We made many of our players contract offers – albeit not official offers – earlier in the season, but some of the agents said they’d prefer to see how things go.

“It’s a gamble some players are prepared to take. What I’m saying is that it’s not as if we haven’t spoken to people. We have made people tentative offers this season with next season’s fair play rules in mind.

“Some of those offers will have been on less money than they are on now – you’ll find it hard to find a player who jumps at the chance to take less money. We live in a world of free markets and free enterprises.

“I’m sure the players’ agents – as they’re entitled to do – will put their players around.

“We didn’t want to get into a situation like this again – I said that last summer – but because of the season that we’ve had it’s happened and we’ve just got to deal with it.”

– For a full match preview of Ipswich Town v Bristol City, see tomorrow’s EADT.

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