Town closing in on first summer signing

IPSWICH Town are today closing in on their first signing of the summer.The Blues are in talks with a European club about a young central defender and hope to complete the deal next week.

Derek Davis

IPSWICH Town are today closing in on their first signing of the summer.

The Blues are in talks with a European club about a young central defender and hope to complete the deal next week.

Blues boss Jim Magilton was last night staying tight-lipped about his target but I understand he is in his early 20s and plays in the top division of a European league, although not Spain's La Liga,or Serie A in Italy.

Although Leicester City's Northern Ireland international centre-half Gareth McCauley remains a target Town are determined to add significantly to their squad.

They need to replace Jason De Vos and Fabian Wilnis, who both retired at the end of the season, and need to strengthen a defence that cost Town dearly away from home last season.

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Competition is needed to keep Alex Bruce, who is set to play for the Republic of Ireland at Croke Park against Serbia tomorrow, on his toes.

Youngster Tommy Smith is also expected to make a push into the first team squad.

Internet reports that Derby defender Jay McEveley is a Town target look to be well wide of the mark, although the Scotland international impressed during his loan spell at Portman Road from Blackburn before he broke an ankle.

Town are also seeking a keeper with Stephen Bywater not yet being told he will be kept on, although Ipswich do have an option to keep him after his loan spell.

A left-sided player and at least one centre-forward are also being sought as Magilton looks to utilise the investment given by owner and main sponsor Marcus Evans.

To make room for new players Town are trying to shed five players under contract.

Brighton are keen to make Matt Richards' loan move more permanent but he still has a year of his current Town contract to run and wages could be an issue for the Withdean club.

Brighton are also trying to secure former Town midfielder Ian Westlake, who went there on loan from Leeds United.

Albion are also considering a move for Dean Bowditch, who will be released by Town.

Town are keen to keep hold of stars such as Danny Haynes, a target for a couple of Premier League clubs including Portsmouth, Owen Garvan and Jon Walters, who attracted the interest of Everton and Wigan among others.