Paul Jewell’s warning to Lee Martin – sign new deal or risk being sold
Lee Martin is to be offered a new long-term deal to stay at Portman Road.
But it will come with a tough message from Paul Jewell as the Town boss prepares to end two years of financial misery for owner Marcus Evans.
Martin, one of Town’s best performers during the second half of the season, will be offered a new deal this summer, but risks being slapped on the transfer list should he not put pen to paper.
Jewell is keen to end the financial wastage caused by David Norris, Gareth McAuley and Grant Leadbitter who cost in the region of �6 million but all departed for nothing after their contracts ran down.
Fed-up with constant questioning about his out-of-contract players, Jewell has committed himself to following the Peterborough United model of selling stars a year before their contracts run out if they refuse to sign a new deal.
That will make the summer negotiations with Martin particularly interesting with the former Manchester United man the first to test the new strategy.
Jewell said: “We will be speaking to Lee’s agent and hopefully we can come to some arrangement so he is an Ipswich Town player for the next three years or so. If not, I don’t want to say Lee Martin will be gone by the end of August, but the message is we would like to sign him.”
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Jewell has admitted speaking to Evans about the situation over the last few days in a bid to stop the club losing millions on players running down their contracts.
While he might be happy to let some of the 13 players out of contract next summer leave, one way or another, Jewell added: “The owner has lost a lot of money. He is not moaning about that but from a football point of view, it is a pain in the backside.
“When we have players coming out of contract, if we want them to stay, we will sit down and offer them deals that we think is acceptable and then if they don’t accept a new contract, we have to put them up for sale.”