Ipswich Town - Season Preview 2023/24
Here we go then...Our second season in the Championship and I cannot be more excited to show you all who we've signed and sold in the lead up to our first game against Portsmouth. I said in my last update I was hoping to rely a lot less on loans this year and whilst we have filled the squad up with 4 of them, they're more for squad depth than strengthening the first team.
So first we'll start off with who will be joining us permanently and then we'll get to our loan players. After that we can talk a bit about sales and our aims for the season.
First up it's my new favourite player on this years FM so far!! Jonathon Leko is back for another season but not just one...4 years he'll be staying as the right winger has agreed to join Ipswich at the end of his contract with Birmingham.
Really surprised they were willing to let him go but after his loan stint with us it was an opportunity I simply couldn't pass up on.
25K a week to seal his services in our front line which makes him our highest paid player. I have no qualms about that though. An investment that could be massive, on and off the pitch.
You probably weren't expecting this and in all fairness neither was I but when Joshua Zirkzee became available at the end of his contract I was again met with a deal I couldn't say no to.
Desperately in need of strikers I snapped Bayern Munich's arms off for this deal and I can't quite believe I'm saying this but Zirkzee is now an Ipswich Town striker for the next 3 years. This deal wasn't quite as expensive as Leko. Zirkzee took a pay cut to join us on 10K a week and I shall be repaying him with regular game time this year and hopefully if he can help us get to the Premier League...A bumper contract extension.
Now a man from across the pond! Cameron Carter Vickers links up with the team this summer to become our new and improved starting centre back for the foreseeable future. I was screaming out for centre backs this summer and Cameron fit the bill perfectly despite their being a number of options available to us.
Cameron will be starting ahead of Woolfenden who despite his loyalty will now only be a squad player. A good option to have but he just didn't do it for me last year.
Another end of contract signing which I'm over the moon about.
Now this one would end up being the only player we actually spent money on. 170K for the talented Jamie Shackleton from Leeds. A cut price for a brilliant central midfielder which I was once again desperate for as we lost a lot of our depth on June 30th.
Shackleton now lines up for us in the centre of the field and can pretty much play any role asked of him so I'm even more delighted at that. Ball winner, box to box, playmaker. You name it Jamie does it.
Then in came a second player from Bayern. Clearly not bothered about letting their future prospects go Bayern were having a summer clear out this year and I was making absolutely no complaints.
Our new starting right back is Josip Stanisic and I'm delighted to say he's a huge upgrade on what we had last season.
I'm looking into employing a new tactical system this year and I think Josip fits how I'm aiming to play very well. A defensively solid right back with the availability to move forward and help out when needed in attack.
On the other side of the pitch starting for us is Celtics ex left back Greg Taylor. The Scotsman just like the others joins on a free for less than 10K pw which I was surprised about. Represents great defensive work and has a bit about him in the offense department.
A very well balanced player that strengthens the side tenfold and will be so so important to our game this season. I hope for end of contract signings like this every year...
The final player to join permanently now. Nathan Bishop comes as our new back up in goal due to the departure of Scott Carson who decided to hang up his boots this year. A decent back up option but I've more to say about this one later on in the sales section, so continue reading to find out more!
Thought we were done? Oh I'm just getting started. This is where our loanees start to come in and first we have Aston Villa man Carney Chukwuemeka who to be honest I'm hoping doesn't play much this year purely for the fact I have to search his name whenever I type it.
A little bit like Shackleton he can play as a playmaker and box to box midfielder so in my opinion a great option in the squad when others are injured. Not the most exciting transfer but I'm happy to have him.
Another midfielder on loan from Hull. I was looking to purchase Greg but deemed his price tag of 2M well overpriced and out of our reach so I was more than happy to loan him in for a season and sure up the centre of the pitch.
He'll more than likely start for us next to Shackleton and I'm hoping the two can form a solid partnership between them and create lots of opportunities for the not 1, not 2, but 3 players ahead of them.
To finish off the frontline we have Jamie Bynoe-Gittens! A player I became very familiar with last year on FM and this year he's head and shoulders better so when I saw he was available from Dortmund for absolute peanuts I just had to get him.
We now have Zirkzee, Leko and Gittens as our front 3 in attack and I'm like a kid at Christmas. I cannot contain my excitement for this trio and I'm absolutely buzzing to get them on the field and hopefully tear some teams apart.
What a signing! Joe Gelhardt who?
Last but not least it's Jamie Donley from Spurs on loan as backup to our main man Zirkzee. Not much to say about this one, he's young and talented but will only provide cover for us this season as next I'll be looking for young and talented permanent options. And there's no way Spurs let him go. Here's hoping he can help us out.
I won't speak loads about player sales as I feel there's not much need. We're only interested in how much is made I think so I'll go through the most notable and perhaps screenshot the transfer history.
Hladky has officially left the club for Seattle Sounders. Around 3M the fee but he will be staying at the club until the 1st January 2024 so we have 6 months to find a replacement. Though I think that may just be Nathan Bishop who is more than capable of seeing out half a season for us in goal. Like I said...I had more on him later. The new starter maybe?
By deadline day Derby were clearly in a rush for players spending 4.4M on Rakeem Harper, 3.9M on our left back Penney, and 1.9M on our right back Vincent young. Nearly 10M made in sales on just 3 players who were all back up individuals anyway. Unbelievable stuff really.
As for our new system we're going for a 4-3-3 or whatever you like to call it I know it varies from person to person. Much more possession based, looking for an opening patiently whilst also patiently waiting for a mistake to grab the ball back rather than pressing teams into losing the ball.
I feel like this will keep our thread bare squad in tact when it comes to fitness and offers the biggest chance to go out and dominate opposition teams. It's a system we all know can work well if implemented correctly but how will it go for us?
Overall we're looking pretty solid. We don't have a lot of depth but I quite like a small team as it leaves less opportunity for players to whinge about game time which I can't stand. Any huge injuries and I plan on using some of the players from our youth set up so we can give opportunities for them to develop.
I think I've found the right balance in squad size now and I'm very happy with what we've got. This has all the makings of a fantastic season. The bookies have us once again in 13th place for the end of the season but I think this time we'll shock everyone!