This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Ipswich Town are reportedly interested in a deal to sign Oxford United midfielder Mark Sykes according to The Sun on Sunday (30th May, page 59).
The 23-year-old has been with Oxford since 2019, and has gone on to make 91 appearances in total for the League One side, having previously been on the books with Northern Irish side Glenavon earlier in his career.
Sykes has made 41 appearances for Oxford United this term, and has chipped in with four assists, as they finished sixth in the third-tier standings.
His efforts weren’t quite enough though, as Karl Robinson’s side narrowly missed out on promotion into the Championship, after a defeat to Blackpool in their play-0ff semi-final.
Ipswich Town finished ninth in the League One table this season, and are seemingly keen to add to their squad ahead of next year’s campaign, where they’ll be targeting a timely return to the Championship under the management of Paul Cook.
We ask our Football League World writers what they make of Ipswich’s rumoured interest in signing Sykes heading into the summer transfer window.
I do think that this could be a decent signing for Ipswich if they can make it happen.
It seems as though Paul Cook’s intended squad overhaul means that Ipswich will need to add in just about every position during the summer transfer window, and that does include Sykes’ centre of midfield.
The 23-year-old has already impressed at this level for Oxford over the past two-and-a-half years, where he has shown he can compete in League One, and at this early stage of his career, Sykes has plenty of time to improve as well, meaning he could be a useful asset for Ipswich for some years to come.
Add to that the fact that with his Oxford contract currently set to expire this summer, Sykes could be available for free in the coming months, and it seems as though this could be feasible for Ipswich from a financial perspective as well, meaning this could be well worth looking into for those in charge at Portman Road.
This would be a smart signing for Ipswich to make this summer, Sykes is a player that has already shown he can be an important player in a side that is able to finish inside the top-six places in League One. The 23-year-old has been a good signing by Oxford since he arrived in January 2019 and he is the sort of option that it would be useful for Paul Cook to call upon next term.
Sykes’ performances do not stand out in terms of the amount of goals he gets from the middle of the park, but he does have the ability to create problems for opposing defences when he is in possession. While he also an effective ball-winner having made 1.4 tackles per game and won four duels per game this term for Oxford.
Given he is only 23, there is still plenty of room left for him to develop over the next few years. That means he could be a player with a lot of resale value or bring a lot of value to Ipswich in terms of the amount of years he could be a crucial member of their side for.
His contractual situation at Oxford might mean that the Tractor Boys can get him for something of a cut-price fee and that would be very useful for them as they need to improve a few areas of the squad this summer. This is a signing that seems to tick a lot of the right boxes.
Which Ipswich Town player was carded the most in each of the last 16 seasons?
This would be a smart signing for Ipswich.
The noises coming out of Portman Road have been extremely encouraging recently, as the new owners seem prepared to back Paul Cook significantly in the summer window. And, bringing in Sykes would be a real statement of intent.
The 23-year-old has proven himself to be a very good player at this level over the years, and he is a good technical player that will add a lot to the Ipswich side in terms of his ability to progress with the ball and find pockets of space. So, this would be a good deal if they can sort that.
Of course, a lot more additions are required if the Tractor Boys are to compete for promotion, but this would be a step in the right direction ahead of what’s sure to be a ridiculously busy summer window.