Welcome to my latest blog post covering my journey with Ipswich Town as I am about to enter season 5 of the save. A quick recap after finishing last season in 17th place in the Premier League 10 points above the relegation zone I had decided that a rebuild of the first team squad would be my next move after staying loyal to most of the original squad and giving them a chance at an higher level I felt it was now time to make a change.
Of the original first team squad when I took over the club just 4 players remain in this seasons squad :
- Luke Wolfenden
- George Edmundson
- Matt Penney
- Kane Vincent-Young
Two players that have come through our youth system also make the squad this season :
- Albie Arbin (U23 Squad)
- Steve Lowe (2022 Youth Intake)
Six players who I have signed in previous transfer windows also make the squad :
- Mark Travers
- Brooklin Lyons-Foster
- Christopher Scott
- Dejan Joveljic
- Juan Hernandez (Chuko)
So you can imagine the work that needed to be done during the close season to get a squad of players together ready for our opening game against Everton. I had mentioned in my previous blog post that I would only sign players that if the club was in this position in real life would realistically sign (in my opinion). This way we are not filling the club with wonderkids instead I will be taking a more realistic approach.
So without further a do let me introduce to you the players who I have signed. The first signing of the summer was 23 year old winger Brennan Johnson from Nottingham Forest for an initial £8m rising to £10m with add ons. I was actually surprised that Johnson was still at Forest with 4 seasons gone in the save and the East Midlands club still in the Championship.
My next signing was that of 31 year old defender Eric Dier from Brentford United for an initial £5.25m with performce added add ons that could rise to £10m. The former Tottenham Hotspur star can play both at the back and in midfield bringing with him a wealth of Premier League experience. Dier gives me the option to work with a half back.
Signing number 3 in my opinion is a real bargain for £1.4m I managed to sign 24 year old forward Rhian Brewster from Brighton and Hove Albion. Brewster has failed to live up to expectations after moving from Liverpool to Sheffield United and then Brighton. I am looking forward to trying to get him back on track and very pleased with the low fee that we signed him for.
The next through the door was the £12.5m capture of 25 year old midfielder Morgan Gibbs White from Wolverhampton Wanderers. The Stafford born midfielder and youth product of Wolves adds real quality to our squad and a player who is in his prime and hope that we can see the best of him after spending time at Sheffield United on loan.
My next signing was that of 29 year old midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek who joins us for £1.4m from Leeds United. Described by The Guardian as an “intriguing” player of “long-striding grace” saying that with his “shielding, covering, deep-playmaking presence with a calmness in possession and a naturally telescopic reach Loftus-Cheek will give us more variety and experience in the middle of the park.
Another playerwith a wealth of experience 30 year old defender Adam Webster joins us from Brighton and Hove Albion for £1.8m Webster a product of Portsmouth youth system is nearing 200 Premier League appearances with Albion the towering defender is an ideal candidate to slot in to our backline to help us shore things up a bit. Webster will probably start the season alongside Steve Lowe in the starting XI ahead of Wolfenden and Edmundson.
Signing number 7 is a real coup for the club costing us £9.5m, 23 year old Rayan Ait-Nouri joins us from Wolverhampton Wanderers. The French left back is a dynamic player who gives us a quality option on our left flank. The young Frenchman can become a big part of the future of our club and I look forward to getting the best out of him. Ait-Nouri will start the season at left back strengthening the squad and releasing Penney to play further up the flank.
Another new face at Portman Road is that of 27 year old forward Dominic Solanke from Fulham in a part exchange deal that saw us pay £6.5m plus a youth team player. Solanke who came through the Chelsea youth has also played at Vitesse, Liverpool, AFC Bournemouth and Fulham. An hard working player with a great touch and physical presence. Solanke can cause many problems and comes in to the club to provide depth in the attacking department.
I strengthened the right back position with the signing of 23 year old Welsh full back Neco Williams on a free transfer after being released by Liverpool. Williams is a quality acquisition considering he is a free transfer and should be our first choice at right back with Vincent Young as back up. Just 4 seasons ago Williams was valued at over £50m by Liverpool.
We needed a back up goalkeeper so I brought in Josh Griffiths after the 23 year old had been released by West Bromwich Albion. Griffiths has the potential to become our first choice stopper giving Mark Travers some competition for the Jersey. Age is on Griffiths side so I am hoping that he continues his development with the tractor boys saving us in transfer fees in the future..
I then signed Belgian 22 year old attacker Luca Oyen from KRC Genk for £5m. The young Belgian can play right across the attacking midfield strata as well as in the centre forward position. Oyen is a very technical player who looks to have the potential to be a star at Portman Road. If Oyen hits the ground running we will have a some nice flexibility in the attacking third.
And last but not least I brought in promising midfield talent in 20 year old Robertino Baez from Independiente for £5.25m. Baez looks a real talent and I am delighted to bring the Argentine to Portman Road.
With the squad assembled we now wait and see if they can go on and keep our Premier League status. The 24 players registered will be backed up by our development squads who appear to have potential to compete at the highest level.Its always a danger making so many changes but hopefully we can get everyone settled asap.
Avoiding relegation is my main aim, anything else is a bonus so thanks for reading and don’t forget to come back to see how we get on in season 5.