‘I am relieved... it’s been a crazy few weeks’ – Bialkowski completes loan switch to Millwall
PUBLISHED: 16:39 30 July 2019 | UPDATED: 16:39 30 July 2019
Ipswich Town goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski says he is ‘relieved’ after finally completing a protracted move to Championship club Millwall.
The 32-year-old almost joined the Lions permanently last month - a fee of £900k agreed - only for the transfer to collapse at the medical stage, the South London club expressing concerns about a knee problem.
Negotiations continued and it was finally agreed that a season-long loan for Town's highest earner would be the best solution for all parties.
It's understood that there is no set fee in place for a potential future transfer, with the two clubs to assess the situation next summer.
"I am relieved," he said. "It's been a crazy few weeks, but I'm happy to finally get this deal done. I'm excited for the future.
"The clubs were talking about this deal happening from six weeks ago, and I was fully focussed to get it done. I was on the phone to my agent every day, asking about any progress with it. I'm just happy to be here."
Town's former three times Player of the Year was riding the crest of a wave last summer, going to the World Cup with Poland and signing a bumper new contract at Portman Road.
A major big dip in form followed and he was dropped twice as the Blues were relegated to League One.
"Last year was crazy, but previously I had a really good time in The Championship and I want to prove it again," he said.
"I am ready to go and I hope I can push everyone else forward.
"I spoke to the gaffer (Neil Harris) and he said that although we have a small squad, we have a good squad of players. Everyone seems to get on well with each other and there is a good atmosphere, which is the main thing in the changing room. There's a platform to build on there for success."
Millwall boss Harris said: "We're delighted to finally be able to get Bart into the building. To be Player of the Year at a big club like Ipswich three years in a row shows what a talented lad he is.
"When you get character references on a player from managers like Mick McCarthy, you listen and take note.
"It's an initial loan. We can look at him and he can look at us. Our successful record with loans over the years speaks for itself."
Millwall have also signed experienced former Derby and Bristol City keeper Frank Fielding this summer.
"Frank has been great in pre-season, and Bart comes in with the pedigree and determination to play," said Harris.
"It's a great position to be in for me as a manager, and there are some real tough decisions to be made ahead of Saturday. We'll see where Bart is at fitness-wise, but what we have is a squad who all are used to playing games and want to play - they're fiercely competitive."
Millwall striker Tom Elliott is set to move in the other direction, joining Town on loan for the campaign.
The 28-year-old, who suffered a hamstring injury at the start of pre-season, underwent a medical at Portman Road yesterday.
Meanwhile, Town have announced the signing of Wolves keeper Will Norris on a season-long loan.
IPSWICH TOWN'S 2019 SUMMER TRANSFER WINDOW
INS (5): James Norwood (Tranmere, Bosman free), Tomas Holy (Gillingham, Bosman free), Luke Garbutt (Everton, loan), Will Norris (Wolves, loan), Adam Przybek (West Brom, free).
OUTS (15): Bartosz Bialkowski (Millwall, loan), Dean Gerken (released), Jordan Spence (released), James Bree (loan expired), Matthew Pennington (loan expired), James Collins (released), Jonas Knudsen (released, signed for Malmo), Callum Elder (loan expired), Trevoh Chalobah (loan expired), Tom Adeyemi (released), Grant Ward (released), Simon Dawkins (released), Ellis Harrison (Portsmouth, £500k), Will Keane (loan expired), Collin Quaner (loan expired).
IPSWICH TOWN FIRST TEAM SQUAD AS IT STANDS (28)
Holy, Norris; Emmanuel, Donacien, Chambers, Nsiala, Woolfenden, Ndaba, Kenlock, Nydam, Clements; Judge, Skuse, Nolan, Bishop, Downes, Dozzell, El Mizouni, Huws; Edwards, Lankester, Rowe, Garbutt, Dobra; Norwood, Jackson, Sears, Roberts.