Ipswich Town CEO Mark Ashton is targeting ‘at least’ five more arrivals at the League One club this summer, as stated in an interview with the East Anglian Daily Times, with manager Paul Cook currently undertaking a major rebuilding job at Portman Road.
The third-tier outfit finished ninth in the league last season, a disappointing campaign considering the Tractor Boys were in the Championship not so long ago, and Cook made his feelings about the 2020/21 squad publicly known back in April after a string of disappointing performances.
Ipswich’s transformation of their squad started back in May when eight senior players were released by the club shortly after the season ended, with Gwion Edwards rejecting a possible stay in Suffolk to join fellow League One side Wigan Athletic, David Cornell’s contract being terminated and a further four first-teamers following them out of the door.
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With other exiled players including Flynn Downes and Teddy Bishop are now training with the Under-23s ahead of likely exits. This has left Cook’s squad looking threadbare, despite the fact he has added six new players to his team ahead of the next campaign.
Macauley Bonne (loan), Wes Burns, Lee Evans, Rekeem Harper, Václav Hladky and Matt Penney are the new arrivals in Suffolk – and CEO Ashton wants at least five more signings in, with more players set to depart and key areas to strengthen.
Speaking to the East Anglian Daily Times, he said: “It’s always a little bit crazy in a transfer window. Even more so in this one.
“I have a dashboard that we operate on a daily basis that shows us all the transactions from all our competitors in League One.
“There are some big clubs in League One who are yet to sign a player. We’ve got six in.
“I’m not going to lie to you, I want at least five more. We are down the line in a number of those. Some we will conclude, some we won’t conclude. But we have alternative options.
“The six we’ve got in I’m really pleased with. I think the five that are remaining are the five most difficult ones. That’s why they are taking some time.”
Completing a rebuild of this size with the limited time is a major risk, but it’s clear Cook needs to make some major changes if he’s to transform the Tractor Boys from mid-table competitors to promotion challengers – and he has already brought in some high-quality players.
The fact they have managed to get the likes of Matt Penney and Lee Evans for free shows how prepared their recruitment team has been for this summer’s transformation – but they now need to focus on bringing in as many of their remaining targets as possible before the season starts.
If several key players arrive at the end of August, it could put Ipswich on the back foot and disrupt their focus. But if everything does go to plan with more signings in the next few weeks and the team clicking together, who knows where they may end up next season?
Promotion isn’t impossible, especially under a man like Cook.