As expected, even more players have been linked with Ipswich Town over the last few days.
Leicester City’s Paul Gallagher has been linked and reporters suggest that Ipswich have made a £750,000 offer for the 27 year old. Another player linked over the last couple days has been Northampton’s encouraging youngster Michael Jacobs. Jacobs is a quick left winger and although he is also out of contract in the summer, Northampton would be due to receive compensation should he change clubs before next season.
However, the most prominent transfer story at Ipswich over the last few months has been the possible transfer of Joel Ward from Portsmouth. Ward seems an ideal option for Paul Jewell as the 22 year old can play comfortably at centre back, right back and central midfield which are all areas Jewell is looking to strengthen.
Jewell himself has made it obvious that Ward is going to be his main target by mentioning that he nearly joined in January and has stated that Ward is keen to join Ipswich. The real question the fans want to know is; are any of these players that have been linked going to push Ipswich to the next level?
It is hard to judge Joel Ward based on this season’s performances with Portsmouth being such a mess both on and off the pitch. It should be alarming that Ipswich are after a player who was part of such a struggling defence but there were much bigger problems at Portsmouth this season that contributed to their downfall.
Ward must have been doing something right because Ipswich are not the only club after him with Crystal Palace, Watford and Leeds all linked with the defender. However, even if the young centre back has had a good season this year he hasn’t played in a team with any pressure or expectation. Ipswich need a leader at the back and 22 is an early age to expect a defender to dominate and lead the back line.
Looking at the other players linked most recently there are also question marks raised over their ability to push a team into the Premier league. Paul Gallagher is probably best defined as a strong forward but has often been used as a straight out striker and occasionally as a winger. The Leicester City man has never really scored a great amount of goals at any level and has never really secured himself a consistent starting role at any club.
On the other hand, Michael Jacobs is a very exciting prospect and he could well be the right kind of player that Ipswich need but at 20 years of age he won’t be near his peak yet. These potential signings and others that have been linked previously don’t sound like anything special and they pretty much sum up the current state of the club. Ipswich have been outside of the Premier League for a long time now, as a result home attendances have dropped and the club has turned into a consistent mid table side. With a situation like that, Ipswich will never be able to attract the type of players that the fans would love to see at Portman Road. Any top players from the lower leagues will be snapped up by Championship clubs who are in more attractive positions and the same is true for players dropping out of the Premier League.
The players that are being linked with Ipswich are gambles. It could be argued that any player is a gamble as even the best sometimes fail to perform after a big move but these are real unproven gambles.
The fact of the matter is that Ipswich will need to bring in lots of under rated players from various sources and hope that they are better than everyone had previously thought. This is not necessarily as bad as it sounds though as the safe options only get you as far as mid table. It is likely that Paul Jewell will bring in relatively unproven talent like Michael Jacobs and Joel Ward as well as inconsistent strikers like Paul Gallagher.
If Jewell can bring a couple more young players into the club that are on the same level as Aaron Cresswell, as well as a few experienced heads then the side will be looking more like promotion contenders. Whether these signings in particular will be good enough to fulfil these ambitions is unknown though and the moves will be pure gambles. However, for a club like Ipswich it is the best transfer policy they can have given the position they are in.