Town will not be held to ransom

PAUL Jewell has revealed how close Ipswich came to signing League One hot-shot Charlie Austin last week.

But the Town boss dismissed any speculation that the failure to secure Swindon’s 17-goal striker meant the Blues were lacking in ambition.

Instead he said the club were right not to be held to ransom, claiming Austin’s mind was made up to join Burnley in a �1.7million move before Town offered him a firm contract.

The manager said: “Charlie Austin would have been a good signing for us and we are disappointed. We made an offer and it was accepted. We spoke to him and he looked around. I spoke to his dad and he (Charlie) was really excited and definitely wanted to come here.

“We were offering decent money. But when I spoke to his agent late on Thursday night, he said he wanted to have the courtesy of speaking to Burnley. I just said it’s not going to happen – I didn’t want to get into a tug-of-war.”

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The potential signing of Austin had been seen as one of the most exciting for Ipswich in recent seasons, with fans salivating at the prospect of Austin and Connor Wickham being paired up front.

Jewell admitted scoring goals had been a problem, but that he never had a Plan B after failing to land Austin.

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The manager said: “I think we need more goals, we could do better all round the pitch. That’s not just the forward players, the midfielders need to chip in with a bit more.”

The failure to sign Austin was symbolic of a transfer window that promised much, but ended up with little.

Town had also been linked with Preston defender Sean St Ledger and Jewell admitted he had spoken to club chairman Maurice Lindsay about the defender before he even took the Ipswich job.

But after informally discussing a price, the Lilywhites had increased their price for the former Middlesbrough man by �1 million.

Most Town fans will just be relieved to get through the window having not lost any of their star names.

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