Three positions Town could still look to strengthen before the transfer window closes

Mark Ashton and Paul Cook have been busy in the transfer market this summer

Mark Ashton and Paul Cook have been busy in the transfer market this summer - Credit: Archant

It’s been a busy summer at Ipswich Town, with 16 new signings arriving at Portman Road. And there’s every chance the recruitment drive isn’t over yet. 

CEO Mark Ashton and his small team, including manager Paul Cook, have worked tirelessly to transform the Ipswich squad, with the latter recently admitting the search for new signings is ‘close to the end’. 

But the finish line is still a week away, with the transfer window closing at 11pm next Tuesday and the Blues still open for business. 

Town manager Paul Cook.

Paul Cook's squad is unrecognisable from last season - Credit: Steve Waller - www.stephenwaller

"Good clubs are always active,” Cook said recently. “We never stop. It doesn't matter what the position is, you’re always looking to strengthen.   

“Have we put a squad together that’s complete, that’s final? No, we haven’t. Does that mean we’ll strengthen before the window closes? I don’t know.  

“If the right opportunity offers itself, I’m sure Mark Ashton and our board will follow that through. If the right opportunity doesn’t present itself then I am so happy with the squad it’s untrue guys, I’ve got to tell you that.” 

Here, Andy Warren takes a look at three areas Town may look to strengthen before the window closes. 

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

Mark Ashton and Paul Cook with midfielder Rekeem Harper - Credit: ITFC

Holding midfielder 

Ipswich Town have rebuilt their midfield this summer. 

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Gone are Flynn Downes, Andre Dozzell, Cole Skuse, Teddy Bishop and Emyr Huws. In have come Lee Evans, Rekeem Harper and Tom Carroll. Jon Nolan is still lurking in the background. 

And while the group of newcomers are all excellent on the ball and have shown flashes of their undoubted ability so far, it perhaps lacks some good, old fashioned, grit.  

Lee Evans acknowledges fans after the final whistle.

Lee Evans is captaining Ipswich Town - Credit: Steve Waller - www.stephenwaller

At this stage it’s unlikely Town will bring in a midfielder who will automatically start games, with plenty invested in Evans and Harper (who it must be said, aren’t shy in the tackle), but it’s understood a further addition to the engine room is possible. A player who can hold things down and win the ball back, adding security to allow full-backs to fly forward, would fit the bill. 

With just seven days of the window left, it remains to be seen whether Town can find the player they are looking for. 

Right-back 

Once it became clear Cook was planning to dispense with almost every player who represented Ipswich Town during 2020/21, Kane Vincent-Young looked the most likely to make a big impression under the new boss. 

He ticks every box when you look at what the Ipswich manager wants from full-backs, with speed, power, precision, attacking intent and ability in the final third. 

But, understandably after such a long injury lay-off prior to a shoulder injury which then disrupted his pre-season, the former Colchester man doesn’t quite look up to full speed just yet.

Kane Vincent-Young controls the ball.

Kane Vincent-Young survived Paul Cook's summer cull - Credit: Steve Waller - www.stephenwaller

There are other options of course, should Cook opt to dip the right-back out of games to help him physically. We saw Janoi Donacien deployed there at Cheltenham and we know Wes Burns can also play at wing-back. 

Donacien can also play at centre-half and, while he has shown himself to be a solid defender who hasn’t ever really let Ipswich down, it’s clear he doesn’t tick all of Cook’s attacking boxes as a full-back. 

Town are understood to be open to the idea of signing another right-back, potentially on loan, so don’t rule this one out before the window closes. 

Goalkeeper 

Could Town be in the market for another goalkeeper before the window closes? 

It’s understood both Tomas Holy and David Cornell were told they could move on at the end of last season and, while Cornell’s contract was terminated and he subsequently joined Peterborough, Holy remains. 

Ipswich keeper Vaclav Hladky pictured after the game.

Vaclav Hladky has not completely convinced during his start to life at Ipswich Town - Credit: Steve Waller - www.stephenwaller

Pre-season wasn’t the easiest for the hugely likeable Czech stopper, with his appearance at Colchester something of a nightmare and new signing Vaclav Hladky taking the bulk of the minutes in the remaining games as he prepared to enter the season as undisputed No.1. 

Hladky’s start to competitive life at Ipswich hasn’t been entirely smooth, either, with a few question marks during his first four games in yellow/black/pink. 

So, with that in mind, it’s not impossible Town may want to up the level of competition between the sticks before the window closes. 

Any other business? 

Cook and Ashton have both said the club are in a position to do deals should the right players become available – and that goes for any position on the field. 

Town are fully stocked in a number of areas, though, particularly in attack, and it seems unlikely any further additions will be made in these positions during the next seven days.  

The long-held interest in Bersant Celina is understood to have been on the basis that, if they were able to land him, the Kosovo international would be the ‘cherry on top’ of Town’s summer business and would be in addition to the Blues building their squad to competition without him. 

Bersant Celina pictured in action was on loan from Manchester City last season. Picture: STEVE WA

Bersant Celina has been an Ipswich Town target this summer - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Celina’s Covid-related illness is almost certain to have ended Ipswich’s summer pursuit, even though he has now recovered and is scheduled to return to training, but a further move can’t be ruled out in January or indeed next summer. 

Town were linked with a loan move for Crystal Palace defender Jaroslaw Jach over the weekend but it’s understood the Blues are not moving for the Pole, with George Edmundson, Cameron Burgess, Luke Woolfenden, Toto Nsiala and Donacien all options at centre-half. 

IPSWICH TOWN SUMMER TRANSFER WINDOW 

IN (16): Wes Burns (Fleetwood, undisc), Lee Evans (Wigan, free), Rekeem Harper (West Brom, undisc), Macauley Bonne (QPR, loan), Vaclav Hladky (Salford, undisc), Matt Penney (Sheff Weds, free), Joe Pigott (AFC Wimbledon, free), Scott Fraser (MK Dons, undisc), George Edmundson (Rangers, undisc), Conor Chaplin (Barnsley, undisc), Louie Barry (Aston Villa, loan), Sone Aluko (Reading, free), Kyle Edwards (West Brom, free), Hayden Coulson (Middlesbrough, loan), Cameron Burgess (Accrington Stanley, undisc), Tom Carroll (QPR, free) 

OUT (21): Andre Dozzell (QPR, £1m), Flynn Downes (Swansea City, £1.5m), Luke Chambers (Colchester, free), Gwion Edwards (Wigan, free), Cole Skuse (Colchester, free), James Wilson (Plymouth, free), David Cornell (contract terminated, joined Peterborough), Freddie Sears (Colchester, free), Alan Judge (Colchester, free), Oli Hawkins (Mansfield, undisc), Jack Lankester (Cambridge Utd, undisc), Aaron Drinan (Leyton Orient, undisc), Stephen Ward (Walsall, free), Teddy Bishop (Lincoln, undisc), Harry Wright (Fleetwood, free), Adam Przybek (Wycombe, free), Tyreece Simpson (Swindon, loan), Corrie Ndaba (Salford City, loan), Emyr Huws, Tristan Nydam (both released), Liam Gibbs (Norwich City, undisc).

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