Ranking Town's 19 new signings on excitement and potential
- Credit: Archant
Ipswich Town have signed 19 players in a remarkable summer transfer window. Mark Heath attempts to rank the signings on excitement factor and potential...
1) Bersant Celina
Ok, for the first two spots on this list, I'm pleading guilty to any charges of recency bias, given they were last through the door. But come on, Ipswich Town have brought Celina back!
If you'd have told me two years ago that Celina, a player with a serious high-level pedigree and talent in abundance, would come back to a Town side sitting in the relegation zone in League One, I'd have said you were bonkers - about as much chance of that as there is of a global pandemic paralysing the world, I'd have snorted....
Celina should be a whole different bowl of gravy at this level. He won't track back or do the dirty work, but that's ok, because at number two on the list is...
2) Sam Morsy
The final signing on deadline day could well turn out to be the best. Somehow, Town persuaded Morsy, a man starting in the Championship with Middlesbrough, to become the latest in a long line of second tier talent to step down into League One.
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- 10 Cook believes Ipswich are 'biggest and best' club in League One
What a signing. Paul Cook's captain at both Chesterfield and Wigan, Morsy is a ball of energy who will do the things that teams need doing to succeed - break up play, bark orders, be a constant thorn in the side of the opposition and bring a bunch of physicality to proceedings.
So often in these big team turnarounds, the key is not a flashy star or two, but an unheralded hero who takes on the heavy lifting and glues the team together. Morsy could be the straw that stirs the Town drink.
3) Kyle Edwards
My esteemed colleague Andy Warren, when conducting an exclusive interview with Edwards, was moved to ask him if he's too good for League One. And that was a valid question.
It tells you all you need to know about Edwards, a young winger who will electrify Portman Road and League One this season. A threat every time he touches the ball, ridiculous acceleration from standing still to top speed, and confidence in bucket loads. He and Celina will terrify the rest of the league.
Oh and he can rap too. That scores him extra points on the Heath scale.
4) Cameron Burgess
What, I hear you say? A central defender at number four? Ridiculous, have you seen the attackers we've signed?
Yes, but Town badly needed a big hairy-arsed central defender to take command of the back four, lead by example and smash anything which gets in his way.
That's what Burgess can, and will do. He's an excellent signing.
5) Conor Chaplin
Yes, we've only seen him play once so far and he was underwhelming.
But Chaplin was a key player for a Barnsley side which reached the Championship play-offs last season, and is another who has decided to step down to join Town's star-spangled revolution.
He'll find a role in this side, you watch. He's too good not to.
6) Hayden Coulson
What? Another defender? Yes friends, another defender.
Coulson could even end up higher on this list if I return to it later this season. He and Kyle Edwards should be terrific down that left side, and the thought of Coulson and KVY as flying full-backs on either wing is a mouth-watering one.
He can play multiple positions too. Great bit of business.
7) Macauley Bonne
Based on what he's done so far, three goals in five games - and it really should be four - you could argue that Bonne deserves to be higher on this list.
He'll have to make do with seventh though, and that's more a reflection of how good Town's business has been.
Showed great character to bounce back from THAT Cheltenham miss with a brace against MK Dons, and the fact that he's from Chantry and is a proper Town fan makes it all the sweeter. Looks to be the starting striker going forward.
8) Scott Fraser
The player who made more key passes in the final third than anyone in English football last season, and came to Town as the consensus best number 10 in the league, Fraser's yet to really catch fire.
That's largely because he's been played all over the pitch, and only recently in that 10 role.
Cook clearly likes him though, and he should. Edwards, Fraser and Celina as the three behind the striker is a Championship-level trio. It's crazy Town can field that in the third tier.
9) Rekeem Harper
Rekeem the dream has largely been class in his showings so far, if surprisingly lightweight in the tackle.
Has a fight on his hands to retain his starting role with Morsy now at the club, but I hope he does. Harper is the sort of player who will get better and better as the season wears on, especially with mate Edwards playing on his left.
A wonderful talent.
10) Joe Pigott
Admittedly, if I'd been penning this before a ball was kicked, Pigott would be much higher.
Brought in to be the mythical 20 goal a season striker all promotion-chasing teams must have, Pigott's yet to hit his stride and seems to have lost his starting role to Bonne.
He has already scored twice though, and will surely still have a big role to play. Is he better as part of a two up front, rather than playing as a lone striker? Something else for Cook to wrestle with.
11) Louie Barry
Bringing Grealish junior to Portman Road felt like a very big deal when it happened, but it's probably since been overshadowed by other deals.
Let's not forget how highly rated Barry is though, and the quality he could bring to the team when called upon. He scored against Liverpool in the FA Cup last season, remember!
Will probably have to make his mark as an impact sub initially, given the embarrassment of attacking riches Cook has at his disposal.
12) Wes Burns
Seems a bit unfair putting Burns down at 12th, given he's generally looked decent in his time on the pitch so far, and scored a great goal against Wimbledon.
He's got bags of pace and threat, but I still can't help wondering if he's going to be Gwion Edwards mark two - a player with so much potential, but lacking consistency.
I hope I'm wrong. I usually am.
13) George Edmundson
Again, putting a player with Edmundson's pedigree this far down the list feels a bit cruel. Town signed him from Rangers, after all.
But we've yet to see him play, so I can't really put him any higher. Figures to be a starter alongside Burgess when fit, and that looks to be, at least on paper, a strong centre-back pairing at this level.
And possibly beyond...
14) Lee Evans
Ah, Lee. Had I been writing this before opening day - or even after - Evans would have been at or very near the top of this list. Looked great in pre-season and against Morecambe. A leader, good passer, all round quality performer.
But he's gone off the boil in the last few, culminating in that mistake against Wimbledon which handed them a draw. Could well lose his starting spot and the armband to Morsy, after he's served his red card ban.
Evans has three games to show that he is who we thought he was. Let's hope he does.
15) Christian Walton
The man brought in from Premier League Brighton looks to be the new starter between the sticks after Vaclav Hladky's shaky beginning to life at Portman Road.
A good shot-stopper (aren't they all) with plenty of Championship experience, and a promotion from this league, under Paul Cook, on his CV, Walton appears to be a fine addition.
But I just can't get excited about keepers, so he'll have to make do with 15th here.
16) Matt Penney
Again, I feel a bit cruel putting Penney down here. He's certainly not let Town down so far, and scored a cracker at Cheltenham.
But I think he's going to be Coulson's back-up at left back, so I can't put him any higher.
17) Vaclav Hladky
Another who would have been much higher on this list if I'd done it pre-big kick-off.
It's just not been the start to life in the Town goal that we all hoped for Hladky. He looks nervous and a bit overawed, and you just can't afford that in your final line of defence - it translates to defenders too, and pretty soon you're leakier than a Government department.
Will have to sit on the bench for a bit and play in the cups while he finds his confidence.
18) Tom Carroll
Like Celina, if you'd told me say five years ago that Tom Carroll would sign for Ipswich Town, I'd have said 'Let the good times roll, we're back in the Premier League baby!'
Of course, it hasn't quite worked out like that. Sadly, Carroll would probably win the Jonny Williams Award for Player Most Likely To Rupture An Internal Organ While Putting On His Boots.
For that reason, I can't get excited about him. Will be class when he plays, but I just can't see him playing that much. Famous last words...
19) Sone Aluko
Someone has to be bottom, and I'm afraid it's Sone.
It's not that he's a bad signing or a bad player - he clearly has pedigree and once moved clubs for £7.5m - but I just can't see where he fits in the Big Town Plan.
Will certainly be a valuable and respected voice in the dressing room, however much he actually gets on the pitch.