Town fans have to show patience as summer transfer window moves slowly
WHEN it became clear that Ipswich Town had 21 players out of contract, it was rightly greeted with grim concern by most fans.
But what seems like both a crazy situation and ridiculous number has actually become par for the footballing course.
The three-and-a-half weeks since Town’s season ended has been dominated by players being released, rather than captured.
The likes of Cardiff City, Nottingham Forest and Leeds United are among those losing scores of players while even newly-promoted Peterborough United this week cut short their celebrations to release nine.
Finally, it seems, the football and financial world are becoming aligned – well at least in some ways – as clubs wake up and realise they have to act prudently and trim their excessive wage bills.
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So however frustrating it is that Billy Sharp hasn’t been signed for big money or Neil Danns on a free, it is perhaps not too surprising.
With so many players out of contract, and so many sides looking for bargains, Town fans have no choice but to be patient.
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The pick of the free transfers are likely to bide their time, see what is out there and then make a decision. This isn’t just being mercenary, but actually showing some common sense.
Some will choose the club who pays the most in wages, which might rule out the Blues in some cases, but others will be guided by who goes where and how convincing a manager is over his masterplan.
This is where Paul Jewell will earn his money. While chief executive Simon Clegg will be sitting around the negotiating table, it is Jewell and his vision that will get players in the boardroom in the first place.
There are reasons for concern. There are currently just two central defenders on the books, the search for a 20-goal striker goes on, as does the need for pace, creativity and a defensive-minded midfielder – with the club linked with Belgian international Faris Haroun yesterday.
But even though pre-season starts in four weeks, these are early days. Town fans, and those of every other Championship club, will have to be patient.
There should be a sprinkling of signings this month, and one hopes a couple heading to Suffolk, but supporters might have to wait until players are deep into pre-season, or indeed when the season starts, before the transfer window really kicks into life for Championship clubs.
It might be frustrating and, for some, concerning, but it is about getting the right players in, however long that takes.