What would you do with Town’s out of contract players... including Bishop, Chambers and Gerken?
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Ipswich Town will soon have decisions to make on several players nearing the end of their contracts. STUART WATSON looks at whose deals are soon set to expire.
Danish left-back looks to have played his last game for the club.
Paul Lambert says the 26-year-old has indicated he ‘has his eye on something else’ and has already moved to sign Callum Elder on loan from Leicester City to compete with Myles Kenlock.
Knudsen was linked to both Stoke and Middlesbrough back in the summer, with a fee of £1m mentioned. Town will now do well to get back anywhere near the £300k they paid Esbjerg in 2015 given clubs know Knudsen will be available for free in the summer.
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A new challenge in Germany or Denmark looks most likely.
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Ipswich will want to keep a talented young player who, not so long ago, was being tipped for the very top.
They will also be reluctant to hand a long-term deal to a player who, due to a catalogue of injuries, has worryingly made just 10 starts in the last two-and-a-half years.
Bishop must decide if he is better served working his way back to full fitness at a club that knows what he has been through, or whether a change of scenery is needed to kick-start his career.
The one-year extension option has already been taken, so new terms would have to be negotiated. A heavily performance-based contract with assurances the club won’t stand in his way if bigger clubs come calling further down the line could suit all parties.
Chambers is, by general consensus, the best captain the club has had for years. He is ‘Mr Ipswich Town’. The heartbeat of the club.
He’ll also be approaching 35 come the end of next season.
Even if there was a significant relegation reduction clause, you’d imagine he’d still be one of the top earners. Is that where the club wants a sizeable part of the wage bill to go?
That depends on how much stock they put in his off-field role and potential to be a coach/manager further down the line.
All that said, Town may not actually have an option on his ‘option’. Such is the complicated nature of some of these contracts that Chambers may automatically trigger his extra year if he hits a certain number of appearances come a given date.
If Town do go down, could they really afford to have two senior keepers?
Bartosz Bialkowski signed a bumper new deal last summer and is contracted until 2021. He, along with Emyr Huws, would be the only significant financial millstones around the Blues’ necks.
Town might well decide to cash in on Bialkowski. If that were to be the case they would almost certainly activate Gerken’s one-year extension clause.
However, if Bart stayed on, then there would be a bigger decision to make on Gerken. He wants to play regular football and Town have Harry Wright progressing in the Under-23s.
Will Ipswich now activate a one-year extension on a player who has recently been ruled out for the rest of the season with a cruciate knee ligament injury? That seems unlikely.
Will other clubs be queuing up to take that same risk? His reputation probably hasn’t grown enough for that to be the case either.
Town might do what they did with Luke Varney a few years ago.
Allow him to stay and work his way back to fitness, provide some financial help and then decide from there whether to offer fresh terms.
Almost certainly will be released following a nightmare two years at Town.
The 27-year-old has made just five appearances since joining as a free agent from Cardiff.
His last outing was in the game against Norwich back in October 2017. He underwent Achilles surgery a year later and has rarely been able to get on the training field since.
Former Blues boss said that the former Norwich and Birmingham midfielder had to ‘grit his teeth and get on with it’ and questioned the player’s pain threshold.
Could well have been one of the players Paul Lambert was referring to when saying ‘the players are not good enough and without doubt some will go’ following Saturday’s 1-0 FA Cup defeat at Accrington Stanley.
In general, the 28-year-old has played much better under Lambert – but the costly errors are stacking up.
Praised by Lambert after coming into the team for the festive games against Middlesbrough and Millwall.
You’d imagine Town, regardless of whether they sign new loanee Callum Elder permanently, will take their one-year option on the homegrown 22-year-old. Has never looked out of place when called upon.
Someone who would know what League One is all about following two loans spells.
The 21-year-old started 37 games when Rotherham reached the Play-Off Final in 2018. He’s been in-and-out of the Shrewsbury team this season though and currently finds himself out of favour (last league start was November).
Again, you’d imagine Town will take their option. Whether they see him as their first-choice right-back going forwards is another matter.
Quick and comfortable on the ball, the 20-year-old has shown his potential in first-team games against Crystal Palace, Reading, Middlesbrough and Blackburn.
Has been a regular starter at mid-table League Two club Swindon Town this season. Likely Town will keep him on for at least another year.
2019: Smith, McKendry, McLoughlin.
2020: Skuse, Sears, Edwards, Harrison, Roberts, Dozzell, Downes, Rowe.
2021: Bialkowski, Huws, Jackson, Nolan, Nsiala, Donacien, Nydam, Folami, Cotter, Morris, Drinan, Wright.
Loans: Pennington, Chalobah, Elder, Keane.