Ipswich Town CEO Mark Ashton has revealed Middlesbrough’s Matt Crooks is the one key player they missed out on during the summer transfer window, as he spoek to the East Anglian Daily Times.
The 27-year-old and his former side Rotherham United were the subjects of multiple bids from Ipswich for the midfielder’s services during the summer, with him being one of the Millers’ standout players during the 2020/21 Championship campaign.
His nine goal contributions in 40 league games were not enough to save Paul Warne’s side from the drop though, but after impressing in the past year, he was tipped with a return to the second tier.
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However, it was third-tier side Ipswich Town who initially showed the most interest at first, lodging multiple offers in an attempt to lure him to Portman Road as part of their long-term project amid a huge rebuilding job this summer under Paul Cook.
In the end, their relentless pursuit of the central midfielder proved to be futile, with Crooks opting to link up with Neil Warnock at Middlesbrough instead and with that, he will continue to ply his trade in the second tier after a successful individual campaign last term.
He signed a three-year deal at the Riverside on his arrival.
In a recent interview with the East Anglian Daily Times, Ashton cited him and Portsmouth’s Joe Morrell as two players they missed out on and said: “I think there was one we missed out on and that was (Matt) Crooks. And look, we made big offers. He had a Championship offer though and he decided to go to the Championship. I can understand that.
“Looking back, I think that’s probably the only one that was a specific target that we wanted, we went for and we didn’t get.”
Considering they targeted so many players and managed to get 19 players in, it was inevitable they were going to miss out on one or two. In fact, the only surprise is the fact they didn’t miss out on more – because they’ve had a remarkable summer and have been extremely ambitious with their transfer strategy.
Matt Crooks would have been an excellent signing in League One but after performing well in the second tier last term, it’s no surprise to see him go to Middlesbrough and secure an instant return to the Championship despite the exciting project happening at Portman Road.
However, the Tractor Boys haven’t suffered too badly in the transfer market despite that blow, recruiting the likes of Sam Morsy and Tom Carroll who have just as much Championship pedigree and also bringing in Bersant Celina on a season-long loan who will provide a similar attacking threat from midfield.
In the transfer market, you win some and you lose some. Ashton has showcased it in his recent interview but he seemingly won a lot more than he lost – and should be commended for his efforts over the past few months.
Now it’s time for Paul Cook to work with his new squad members as they attempt to jell together – and the sheer number of players coming in should mean that the board give him a sufficient amount of time to get things right.