If the rumours are true and Ipswich Town are about to lose one or more of their young stars, then where should the money gained be spent to help return to the championship at the first time of asking?
Relegation hurts clubs, especially if the club is not a yo-yo club, and the relegation takes a team to a level not experienced for a while, if ever.
Ipswich Town had not tasted third tier football for 60 years, in that time the Suffolk team experienced virtually all the highs an unfashionable club could dream of, a league title under Sir Alf Ramsey, who left the club for England duty, an F.A Cup and European recognition under Sir Bobby Robson, who too left for England Duty.
Even a flurry of success including European football under George Burley, who left but not by choice, after relegation from the top flight in 2002, a division they have yet to return to since. Now they are two divisions away from it, fighting for automatic promotion back to the Championship at the first time of asking.
With a talented bunch of youngsters, augmented with experienced older heads, Ipswich should be considered as contenders for a return, but, with no money to spend unless they raise funds it may not be as straight forward as some would suggest.
Downes, Dozzell and Woolfenden are all being watched, two midfielders and a defender, but if one of more were to leave, direct replacements may not be on Paul Lambert’s shopping list.
In my humble opinion, I would like to suggest where the money should be spent, having watched Ipswich for more years than I care to mention, I feel I can offer some answers to what is needed to boost the return.
Luke Garbutt (Everton)
Okay, I know, Garbutt is already at Portman Road. The Everton asset is on loan at Ipswich and is impressing, in recent years Ipswich has seen some tremendous prospects at left-back.
Aaron Cresswell arrived from Tranmere and departed for West Ham, Tyrone Mings arrived from mortgage advising and departed for Bournemouth, before moving to Villa, and Jonas Knudsen arrived from Denmark and departed for… err Sweden, having made it to Russia in the Danish World cup squad.
Garbutt is out of contract at Everton in the summer and it would be foolish to allow other teams a sniff at signing a player who is already popular among the regulars in the Ipswich stands.
Tommy Smith (Free Transfer)
Yes, I know, also not crystal ball level of vision, but the former Town centre half has spent time away from Suffolk in the MLS with Colorado Rapids, who have not taken up a contract renewal (as yet). When previously at Ipswich, Tommy was a popular no-nonsense centre half, Paired with Current Captain Luke Chambers, or quite often cult hero Christophe Berra, Tommy was hard to beat and also good for a set-piece goal (header at the back post) although he was also quite capable of an own goal too, Tommy did score against the old enemy up the road in a playoff game, which regardless of result is sure to earn you a place in local folklore.
Max Power (Sunderland)
No, not Homer Simpson’s fantastic pseudonym, but the Birkenhead-born midfielder named after his father’s dog. Max Power is a combative midfielder with an eye for the sublime, having a reputation for scoring screamers from 30 yards, whilst also having an annoying red card habit since moving to Sunderland.
Power left Tranmere for a spell at Wigan and has often been touted as a bit of a rough diamond. There is no suggestion however that Power is for sale, nor that he would choose to move on should such an opportunity arise, but I didn’t say this was fact-based. If Ipswich were to be in the market, a player with the ability to link the play between defence and attack would surely be the key purchase.
Two others (if you felt robbed by the first two listed)
Tahith Chong (Man Utd)
A loan move for United youngster could be an option, although he would probably expect to stay in the top two tiers, with his contract expiring and nothing on the table as yet, playing football anywhere at all is better than waiting it out. The right-winger could well compliment the quick attacking line provided at Ipswich with Jackson, Sears and Norwood.
Phoenix Patterson (Tottenham)
With a Hollywood level name, the former Wycombe youth player is bound to court media attention, but with an injury hit 2018/19 Patterson is a little behind where he was expected to be, The tricky winger is adept at cutting in from wide positions, however Ipswich have just prematurely ended the loan of Spurs asset Georgiou which may not create an entirely harmonious negotiation.
So there is a plan, admittedly not a great one, but, this is football, and everyone is a manager these days