Why haven’t Ipswich Town signed anyone yet? Here’s why football is quiet this time of year
Ipswich Town fans are desperate for some news of summer signings following a disappointing 16th place finish in the Championship, but this is traditionally a quiet time of year in football. Here’s a few reasons why.
For nine months of the year, football is an intense industry for managers and players to be involved in. The pressure, travel and action is relentless.
Yes, that’s part and parcel of a well-paid job but everyone deserves a holiday – footballers included.
The window of opportunity for that is small. Town’s last game was on May 7 and the players return to pre-season training on June 26. That’s seven weeks.
Trips away to recharge the batteries are generally towards the start of that period, meaning many players are on the beach right now.
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Most player contracts run until June 30, so clubs are not in a rush to sign people now and pay them wages over the off-season. This can be negated by a pre-contract agreement though.
So much is about who blinks first. Does the buying club want the player so much that they’ll up the ante in order to risk getting dragged into a bidding war? Or does the selling club want to simply get the cash in for an unsettled player early doors in order to give themselves plenty of time to land a replacement?
Even without fees to negotiate, you can face a waiting game when it comes to unattached players too.
Some like to get their futures sorted sooner rather than later so that they can settle in a new area, be part of a full pre-season and hit the ground running. But there are plenty who are willing to sit on offers in the hope something better comes along.
With clubs now unable to sign loan players between transfer windows, more and more free agents are willing to play that risk knowing clubs could soon be desperate to get them once an injury crisis bites in November/December time.
No ‘emergency’ loan window
As just touched upon, last season was the first year that the ‘emergency’ loan window – which enabled clubs to sign players on 93-day temporary deals throughout the campaign – was scrapped. Now loan deals can only be done in the main summer and January transfer windows.
As a result, clubs are less willing to enter the season with small squads. They are now holding onto fringe players just in case they are needed.
International football, even in a year without a major tournament, goes deep into June.
Meanwhile, at the same time, the Premier League big-hitters rush away to strengthen their brand in Asia, Australia and America in friendly tournaments.
It means the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal are forced to take many of their academy players on the plane, meaning a loan deal can’t happen until later in the summer.
25-man squad deadline
Top-flight clubs don’t have to name their 25-man squads until September 1, so it’s not always apparent who hasn’t made those cuts until the Championship season is well under way.
Premier League clubs can name a maximum of 17 players who do not fulfil the “Home Grown Player” criteria. Under-21 players are eligible over and above the limit of 25 players per squad.
All of the above means so many key deals go down to the wire. Once one or two much-coveted players go, then it’s a domino effect. Sellers start signing replacements, while buyers who miss out move down their list of targets.
That’s why, despite having weeks to do deals, so many transfers happen in a mad rush on August 31.
Last two summer windows
Ipswich signed Adam Webster and Paul Digby on July 1 last year, but Grant Ward didn’t follow until August 1, with Tom Lawrence, Jonny Williams and Leon Best all arriving in the final two days of August.
In 2015, the deal which saw Tyrone Mings join Bournemouth and Brett Pitman and Ryan Fraser move in the opposite direction was completed on June 26. Jonas Knudsen and Giles Coke arrived in late July/early August, with Piotr Malarczyk and Tommy Oar late additions.
Few deals happened yet
Only 10 of next season’s 24 Championship clubs have done deals so far. The biggest move is forward Marley Watkins agreeing to join Norwich after turning down a new deal at Barnsley.
Wolves have signed centre-back Ryan Bennett after his released by Norwich, while Brentford have signed keeper Luke Daniels (Scunthorpe, free) and Danish right-back Hentik Dalsgaard (Zulte Waregem).
Cardiff have announced deals for keeper Neil Etheridge (Walsall, free) and winger Nathaniel Mendez-Laing (Rochdale, free), while Barnsley have signed midfielder Stevie Mallan (St Mirren, undisclosed).
Birmingham have signed midfielder Craig Gardner permanently following a loan from West Brom, while Bolton have done the same with left-back Andrew Taylor from Wigan.
Sheffield United have signed three players in left-back Enda Stevens (Portsmouth), striker Ched Evans (Chesterfield) and midfielder Nathan Thomas (Hartlepool), Millwall have recruited left-back James Meredith (Bradford), while Burton have signed midfielder Matty Lund (Rochdale).