Bialkowski confusion, McGoldrick interest and that Rhodes rumour – the inside track on Ipswich Town’s deadline day
PUBLISHED: 14:53 01 February 2018 | UPDATED: 17:03 01 February 2018
PA Archive/PA Images
It proved to be a busier than expected transfer deadline day for Ipswich Town. STUART WATSON takes a look back on how the day unfolded.
‘Quiet deadline day expected at Town’ - ah, that familiar old friend of a headline.
Mick McCarthy had repeatedly insisted that all his incoming transfer business was done following the January additions of Cameron Carter-Vickers and Stephen Gleeson.
Indeed, when I asked if he felt he had enough attacking wide options in his squad he responded with a heavy dose of sarcasm during a televised press conference. ‘How many goals have we scored?’ he said, adding; ‘We’ve done alright’. That told me.
- - - - - MORE: Relive deadline day at Portman Road
The one major question mark was whether any key men might leave before the 11pm deadline, but that increasingly looked unlikely...
• Bartosz Bialkowski had agreed a new two (effectively three) year contract to kill talk of a move to Crystal Palace.
• Rumours of Bristol City preparing to make a £4m bid for Adam Webster should they sell Aden Flint for £10m+ were quickly quashed – the Blues value their 21-year-old defender far higher than that and would simply not let another centre-back go following Tommy Smith’s recent exit.
• And, one by one, the clubs who had shown interest in striker David McGoldrick pulled out of the running. Cardiff turned their attentions to Bolton’s Gary Madine, Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce said he was looking for a No.9 rather than a No.10, while Birmingham boss Steve Cotterill declared his business complete.
‘Quiet deadline day expected’ still stands.
Some young players come and go, but they are not deals to set the pulses racing.
Forward Monty Patterson returns to his native New Zealand to join Wellington Phoenix on loan, while defender George Fowler completes his anticipated permanent switch to Aldershot days after Adam McDonnell had done the same.
Colleague Andy Warren speaks to a contact in Ireland to confirm that Barry Cotter, a 19-year-old right-back, is on his way over from Ireland to complete an already reported switch from Limerick for a fee around £50k.
There is also confirmation that 16-year-old attacking midfielder Kai Brown, a player who had been watched by Premier League scouts, has joined the Blues’ academy from non-league club Grays.
- - - - MORE: Championship clubs splash the cash on deadline day
I arrive in the office at 1pm and sports editor Mark Heath decides to take a picture of me entering as if it’s Jim White on Sky. Andy Warren jokes about the lack of a yellow tie.
‘Nothing’s happening boys..’ And then news breaks that Flynn Downes is on his way to join League Two leaders Luton Town on loan. A couple of phone calls confirm this to be the case.
No-one was expecting that. It doesn’t seem like even Flynn was himself. After later posing in the bright orange Hatters kit, he said: “It’s happened totally out of the blue. I was called into the gaffer’s office and he literally just said: ‘Do you want to go out on loan to Luton?’ I just said ‘Yes, get me there, I just want to be playing football!’”
- - - -
Andy and I sit down to do an interactive Facebook Live video chat. Downes was a surprise, we say, but ‘quiet deadline day expected’ is repeated.
And then, as we babble on, news breaks that Town are set to sign Mustapha Carayol. So McCarthy did want a wide player after all. It immediately makes sense – Championship experience, has played well against the Blues in the past and available on a short-term deal.
Nottingham Forest confirm he has been released from the final few months of his contract by mutual consent. Town later announce he has signed until the end of the season.
- - - -
The afternoon is spent writing opinion pieces and embellishing the websites with quotes and video. Come early evening the finishing touches are applied to the front page, back page and two-page spread for the following day’s EADT and Ipswich Star.
One by one, colleagues drift out of the office. ‘Give us a shout if anything changes,’ they say. ‘And remember, the print deadline is 10.30pm’.
A well-placed source tells me they would be amazed if anything else happens and that staff at Portman Road are heading home for the day. There was an enquiry about McGoldrick from Bolton, but that’s gone cold.
I’m feeling pretty on top of things...
- - - -
And then Sun journalist Alan Nixon tweets that Palace’s move for Getafe keeper Vicente Guaita had fallen through and they would turn their attentions back to Bialkowski.
Alarm bells ring. McCarthy had previously revealed that Bart was on a list of potential Eagles targets. And the Blues boss had been at pains to stress, following last Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat to Wolves, that the Polish custodian had only ‘agreed’ a new deal, rather than actually signed it.
A series of phone calls calm down the worry. I’m told there is no chance the Blues would sanction a sale at this stage in the day. As you were.
Footnote: Palace end up not signing a goalkeeper at all.
- - - -
Oh, Mr Nixon, you are killing me.
Just as I’m about to pack up and go, the time approaching 10pm, I see my twitter timeline going into overdrive. People are pointing out two tweets: ‘Wouldn’t be a deadline day without Jordan Rhodes drama’, followed immediately by ‘I will just get my tractor’.
I know Rhodes, not always a regular at Sheffield Wednesday, is available. But surely his wages – around £35k-a-week – would put him waaaaayyyy out of Town’s budget? Then again, if the Blues were to get a good late deal for McGoldrick... The return of ‘the one who got away’ would certainly sweeten the pill.
A series of rapid-fire calls get made. Yes, the situation has changed. Finally, I get confirmation that Bolton, having sold Madine for Cardiff for £6m, are pushing for a late McGoldrick deal.
A few quick adjustments need to made to the paper before it rolls off the printers. Headlines which screamed ‘McGoldrick stays’ are hastily removed and replaced by vaguer terms to cover my back.
And then, moments later, a call to say the deal is off. Bolton, having procrastinated all day, decide to pull the plug. Signing a player with a history of injury problems without a medical would have been a huge risk.
McGoldrick would have listened to what they had to offer, but that’s not to say he would have accepted. He’ll have a lot more choice come the summer
Did the Blues enquire about Rhodes? Tentatively, I understand, but financially it was never realistic.
So much for ‘quiet deadline day expected at Town’.