‘It’s a case of who blinks first’ – Hurst on Waghorn bids and potential domino effect
- Credit: Archant
Ipswich Town manager Paul Hurst admits Martyn Waghorn’s potential multi-million pound departure could start a domino effect in terms of incoming transfers.
Championship rivals Middlesbrough, Sheffield United and Derby County have all been circling Town’s 16-goal top-scorer of 17/18 this summer.
It’s understood that Derby’s interest has gone cold following their failure to move on Matej Vydra, but Middlesbrough – who have just sold Patrick Bamford to Leeds for £7m – and United remain in the hunt.
The Blues are believed to have turned down bids of around £5m for Waghorn, having stated a valuation of £8m. Negotiations, it’s understood, surround how payment would be structured.
Blues boss Hurst is keen to strengthen his thin squad before the window for permanent signings closes at 5pm next Thursday, with offers currently in for Curtis Tilt (Blackpool), Toto Nsila and Jon Nolan (both Shrewsbury) and a deal for Accrington Stanley striker Kayden Jackson having been discussed.
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Hurst, who said last week that he wanted the Waghorn situation sorted sooner rather than later, quipped: “What I like and what I’ve got is two different things!
“The situation hasn’t really changed in all honesty. It’s another situation that could change in the next five minutes, or it might take the next days. It’s just a case of waiting for the phone to ring.
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“My understanding is that there are still bids there. I don’t believe there has been a new bid, I think I am right in saying.
“He is still very much our player. He’s trained with the players today and seems in good spirit. I’ll have a decision to make, if nothing happens, whether to involve him (in Saturday’s Championship opener against Blackburn Rovers at Portman Road).
“Last week I said I probably would. I’ll have to assess that situation and see if I think it’s right or not for him to be part of the squad.”
So the Waghorn bids have been on the table for a while, they are not at the value the club wants and nothing will change until that valuation is met?
“That’s pretty much where we are at,” said Hurst.
“We can look at what we can get and what that’s going to cost in the scenario that you’ve mentioned.
“At the minute, as we speak, our stance hasn’t changed. We’ll see if anything does change. We’ve all, including ourselves, got decisions to make as to whether we change our viewpoints – whether that’s ins or outs.
“The tricky situation we’re in is that people can wrongly get an idea that you are awash with money and can add value onto people you are trying to bring in. We’ve got to be careful.
“A lot of these situations, it does feel like you are in this silly game. It’s a case of who blinks first. We’ll just try to make the best call we can as a football club if there is business to be done.”
Asked if he needed to sell Waghorn in order to fund further signings, the Blues boss said: “I think we could do something, but certainly there will be a lot of other things we could do if certain things happen.
“It’s a domino effect, I suppose. That’s natural. I’m not there only manager in this situation. Not many other managers have done lots of business.
“I’m trying to be as diplomatic and understanding of the situation as possible and not get too uptight about it.
“There is the option of loans turning to permanents after next week. There’s been some debate about that. Is the deadline next Thursday really important? Obviously you can only have so many loans in your matchday squad.”
Are there incoming deals agreed he is ready to push the button on if Waghorn does move on?
“Pretty much,” said Hurst. “A lot of things have been bubbling along for a long time.
“I’ll be glad when September comes along and I know exactly what squad I’ll working with. It takes away all the speculation and any doubt in anyone’s mind.
“If anyone is here that didn’t want to be here, tough, they are here. If we’ve missed out on players then that’s tough on me. You get on with it.
“Once we get to September I might just throw my phone away. I’d say it’s my best friend - it’s probably more of a love-hate relationship at the moment!
“I’ve had texts and calls past 10, 11 o’clock at night. Some of them are relevant in terms of things you are trying to do, others I wonder if it’s people getting in from the pub and thinking ‘I’ll just text the manager and let him know my player is available’.”
He added: “I’ve already been able to do a little bit more business than I thought I would. Initially I thought we’d be working simply on loans.
“But Adam Webster leaving (helped with budget) and there other things that ongoing that may open other avenues. I’m trying to get my ducks in line to strengthen the squad and try to get the players that fit how I would like to play.”
Asked if he had advised owner Marcus Evans whether there was a maximum he’d be prepared to pay for a certain player, Hurst explained: “We’ve had those sort of conversations. I’ve said ‘I think we’d be better served doing this’ or ‘we’d be better not accepting that’.
“Ultimately, I guess the final decision will be with him. But at the same time I don’t expect a final decision ever to be not what I’m happy and comfortable with.
“We’re learning how to work with each other. Each club is different. This is different to what I’ve been used to at my previous clubs.
“He’s very hands on and wants to be involved in the deals and works extremely hard to get the best deals for us.
“We certainly won’t be signing a player I don’t want to be at the football club and I’m trying to demonstrate already that I am with him in terms of not wanting us to spend silly money on players.
“I’ve said that from the start to him and I think he’s seen that already. The fact it’s not my money doesn’t mean I won’t respect that and just say ‘sign him, it doesn’t matter what it takes’.
“I want us to get value for money myself.”