Ins, outs and plenty of speculation - how the January transfer window is shaping up for Ipswich Town
PUBLISHED: 12:07 17 January 2018 | UPDATED: 14:21 17 January 2018
Sports writer Andy Warren takes a look at Ipswich Town’s business in the January transfer window so far.
Already out the door
Striker Kieffer Moore was the focus of most of Ipswich Town’s January transfer talk heading into the window, with manager Mick McCarthy confirming he was recalling the forward from a productive loan spell at Rotherham which yielded 13 goals.
But rather than giving him a chance to impress in the Blues’ first team, his recall sparked a League One bun fight with the Millers, Peterborough and Bradford all making their interest public.
Ultimately, they were all gazumped by Championship side Barnsley, who paid a fee in the region of £750,000 to give the 6ft 5in striker his chance to impress at Championship level. He made his debut as a substitute in Saturday’s goalless draw with Wolves.
Winger Danny Rowe has also left Portman Road, on a temporary basis at least, for League Two promotion-chasing Lincoln.
Andy’s verdict: In many ways Moore not being given a chance to prove his worth following a highly productive loan spell is a missed opportunity, but to get such a high fee for a player McCarthy signed for £20,000 a year ago and has clearly made his mind up on is good business. His value would almost certainly never have been higher.
That business won’t look so good, however, if the big striker makes the grade in the second tier.
Ipswich’s only incoming transfer business so far has seen them confirm the signing of two young players for the future.
Aaron Drinan had been training with the Ipswich first-team since October, prior to completing his move from Waterford at the start of January, and took his place on the Town bench just a few days later for the FA Cup loss to Sheffield United. He didn’t get onto the field on that occasion but did find the net for the Under 23s on Monday.
McCarthy also confirmed the arrival of young French defender Chris Goteni, who had been playing in the fifth tier in France, after the victory over Leeds. He is one for the development squad.
Andy’s verdict: Both McCarthy and Luke Chambers have been really impressed by Drinan since his arrival and he looks set to be in and around the first team for the rest of the season.
It’s a real shame he didn’t get minutes in the cup defeat to Sheffield United in a game crying out for something to be excited by - but his time will come.
Goteni won’t be anywhere near the first team this season but you never know how gambles like this work out.
McCarthy started the window by making it clear he was looking for loans and free transfers before going on to insist “I’m not offering anybody any long-termism” prior to the victory over Leeds. That means short-term deals and loans until the end of the season for players unwanted elsewhere.
So far the Blues have been linked to a number of players who fit that bill, including Anthony Pilkington at Cardiff, free agent David Cotterill and Middlesbrough midfielder Adlene Guardioura.
The latter certainly fits the bill as a stop-gap for a Town midfield missing Emyr Huws, Teddy Bishop and Andre Dozzell due to season-ending injuries and with Tom Adeyemi seemingly no closer to a return from his own fitness trouble. He has worked with McCarthy at Wolves in the past, too.
Brighton defender Connor Goldson is one which McCarthy is revisiting, after a loan move fell through in August, but any deal there will depend on the Seagulls recruiting a defender before they allow him to depart temporarily. He would be a quality addition.
Andy’s verdict: It appears the Blues’ incoming January business is likely to be a patchwork exercise. Goldson would certainly be a quality addition at a time when the Blues need a central defender, but short-term deals and loans will do nothing to inspire a fanbase longing for some ‘long-termism’ and a plan for the future.
There is certainly a school of thought to suggest McCarthy’s own future - his contract is up in the summer, of course - may have something to do with the January transfer policy.
Could they leave?
Star goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski is undoubtedly the jewel in Ipswich Town’s crown right now.
So for that reason, reports of a potential £4million move to Crystal Palace have alarmed the Blues fans who fear the Pole will become the latest big-name departure. Bialkowski is just one of a number of goalkeepers to be linked with the Eagles, though, with Spaniard Vicente Guaita their number one target and a deal is expected to be completed soon.
McCarthy has insisted he has received no concrete interest in any of his players, but the likes of Tommy Smith, David McGoldrick and Kevin Bru have all been linked with other clubs.
Andy’s verdict: In Bialkowski’s case, he is far from Palace’s number one target given they are close to completing a deal for Guaita. Aside from the Eagles, looking up and down the Premier League it’s hard to see another club in need of a first-team goalkeeper. Bialkowski’s reported £4million value is not an amount clubs usually spend on back-up goalkeepers, while the Pole will not be looking to move away from an area his family are settled in to simply sit on the bench.
Smith’s potential switch to MLS side Colorado Rapids is understood to have substance although nothing is agreed there, while McGoldrick’s links to moves to Cardiff and Birmingham make sense for a player entering the final six months of his contract. McCarthy even offered a scenario recently where the striker’s departure could benefit the club.
Bru has been told he is free to leave Portman Road but, given the injuries still engulfing the Town midfield, that may have to wait.
If there are any further significant sales this January, if and how that money is reinvested into the Town squad will demonstrate just how much ‘long-termisn’ there is at Portman Road right now.