Relief for Town as Bent stays
Transfer deadline day passed without incident at Portman Road, writes David Vincent.Elsewhere, players swapped clubs and money changed hands, but not Darren Bent or Dean Bowditch - two of the Ipswich Town young guns highly coveted by Premiership clubs.
Transfer deadline day passed without incident at Portman Road, writes David Vincent.
Elsewhere, players swapped clubs and money changed hands, but not Darren Bent or Dean Bowditch - two of the Ipswich Town young guns highly coveted by Premiership clubs.
There was relief for Ipswich Town fans as Bent and Bowditch remained Town players, at least until the next transfer window opens in January.
Last season's 16-goal top scorer Bent was the biggest target but Charlton Athletic slapped a “take it or leave it” £3million offer on the table and refused to haggle.
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Bent, still only 20, showed no signs of transfer talk upsetting him on Monday. He was a scorer and an impressive provider of chances in the win over Wolves.
Now he can remain and help second-placed Town's bid for promotion from The Coca-Cola Championship.
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The Town board turned down that £3million cash bid from Charlton and a bigger offer, more difficult to refuse, never arrived.
Some sources said Town were looking to collect nearer £5million to allow Bent to leave the club where he graduated through the Academy ranks.
Charlton boss Alan Curbishley said they would not be held to ransom by Ipswich and would not up their offer despite their poor start to the season. They were beaten 4-0 by Manchester City on Saturday.
He had already paid Arsenal £2.6 million for another England Under-21 striker in Francis Jeffers.
Meanwhile, Bent and team-mate Ian Westlake have joined up with Peter Taylor's England Under-21 squad for their European 2006 qualifying games against Austria on Friday and Poland the following Tuesday.
Yesterday, before jetting off for a sunshine break, Town boss Joe Royle said he would have pressed for attacking midfielder Graham Stuart to come to Ipswich on loan if Bent had gone to The Valley.
In the end it proved a red herring, though clearly 33-year-old Stuart is the type of highly-experienced professional Royle would like to add to his promotion-chasing squad.
Former club captain Stuart might well become a loan target later in the season if he remains on the fringes at the South London club.
Despite injury problems, Curbishley has several players surplus to requirements who might be loaned out. In addition to Stuart, there is former England left-back Chris Powell, 34, and Finnish international striker Jonatan Johansson.
Powell is fit again but can't get in to the side at left-back when Hermann Hreidarsson is in that position.
Bent, who was in the same Under-17 and youth team as Westlake and Darren Ambrose, has been a prolific scorer at every age group.
In his first year as a professional he hit 30 goals as the U17s won their league and national play-offs and the FA Youth cup team (U18) reached the FA Youth Cup semi-finals, winning at Highbury but losing the home leg to Arsenal at Portman Road.
Bent scored twice in a 4-3 win at Highbury; a performance which marked him out as a star of the future. He has also played for England, and got on the scoresheet at every age group from Under-15 to Under-21.
There were rumblings of discontent from some Ipswich Town season ticket holders when it became clear that Charlton, who had previously taken Portman Road favourites Matt Holland and Hreidarsson for bargain prices, might get Bent for just over £3 million. But when Bent played against Wolves it looked like the deal had died.
Ipswich Town are next in league action following the international break on Sunday week against Millwall at Portman Road, kick-off 1pm.
n Academy striker Darryl Knights is in the England Under-17 squad for the four-team Pepsi Cup tournament with Italy, Russia and Portugal at Gillingham's Priestfield Stadium this week. It gets under way with Portugal v Russia today.=