|The L Word|
written by prickettboy3 Thursday, 10th Jan 2013 08:36
The day always comes when one of you has to say it. It’s one of the most important words muttered and to some it means so much and to others it just rolls of their tongue but means nothing to them. I’m talking about the only word that truly makes you feel excited and nervous at the same time. Loan.
I think I’ve said that word so much in the past year that it’s now lost all meaning to me. A loan by definition is ‘something lent for temporary use’. We’ve brought in Aaron Mclean and David McGoldrick on 'loan' in the past week and I see some people moaning about this, the fact that we’ve yet again turned to the loan market and that we thought those days were behind us.
Even Adrian Durham on Talksport has decided he wants to have a dig at Ipswich at every opportunity and criticised us through various tweets on Twitter, sharing his opinion that the number of loans we have in at the moment demonstrate a “short-term plan” by the management.
In reality the McGoldrick deal in particular is not really a loan because we’ve already struck the deal to sign him up permanently. In essence he's a new signing we won't formalise until July. Of course the footballing authorities say that only a certain number of loan players can be named in a matchday squad so this is the only sense in which it becomes relevant.
A lot has been said this season (and in fact last) about how we’ve over-used the loan system and we can all agree that as a club we haven’t benefited really (with the exception of DJ Campbell, of course). But other clubs have. The feeder clubs. They’ve used us to get their player match fit, learn his trade or simply free up the wages so they could afford to bring in someone better. So let’s do the same.
The addition of Frank Nouble now gives us an abundance of attacking options with 10 strikers on our books. At best only five of these will make a matchday squad, most likely to be Daryl Murphy, Mclean, McGoldrick, Michael Chopra and Nouble.
Paul Taylor is injured which leaves four strikers surplus to requirements for the rest of the year - Jason Scotland, Ronan Murray, Nathan Ellington and JET.
The last may surprise a few of you but Mick McCarthy has said he sees him primarily as a striker and not a wideman which by my reckoning makes him sixth choice. We’ve invested a lot of money (£1.1m fee + wages) and time in JET so I’m not all for getting rid just yet, he does after all possess great pace and has a very powerful shot on him, sadly he just can’t hit a barn door from five yards.
So, let’s allow another club to pay his wages for a few months, invest time in him and let him learn about playing as a striker through the middle in League One. Then we’ll have him back in the summer and let Mick McCarthy and Terry Connor decide whether he can be useful to us in the long term. I suspect he can’t be, but there’s no sense in us selling him now. We don’t need to and we will gain nothing from it.
The same logic can’t be applied to many others though. For some their time at Ipswich has simply run out in my opinion. A look down the squad list and for me it’s easy to identify some of these: Ellington, Scotland and Murray for starters – another loan out for the latter will do little other than delay the inevitable. He’s had various loans in the past and still we’re yet to see an improvement significant enough to suggest he’ll progress into the first team squad any time soon, so let’s not waste any more of his time or ours.
These players are not what’s necessary if we’re to ever seriously challenge again at the top of the league. A look at some of the players we’ve shipped out in recent years will show that the current crop aren’t even of a matching quality to those we’ve already deemed to not be good enough. Gone are Gareth McAuley, David Norris, Grant Leadbitter, Liam Trotter, Damien Delaney (albeit their choice), Jon Walters, Connor Wickham, Jordan Rhodes and Owen Garvan to name just a few.
We need to start being ruthless and stop holding on to players for sentimental value (such as they’ve been with us since they were 10 years old) or because we’re fearful they might go on to be awesome elsewhere. If there’s no evidence to suggest they’re going to be awesome for us, then Mick needs to ship them out. I believe he will.
There may be some eyebrows raised when doing this as I wouldn’t be surprised to see three youngsters in Jack Ainsley, Josh Carson and Joe Whight make way in the shake-up, but ask yourself this: have any of these players showed anything to suggest they are worthy of being involved in a promotion-winning team?
We all know the answer really. Ainsley did OK against Huddersfield at the start of the season and I was pleasantly surprised, but he’s not big enough to play as a centre-half and certainly isn’t going to be better than Chambo or Tommy Smith, we have a very highly rated player in Elliott Hewitt ready to step in and make the right-back position his own for years to come, so there’s no place really for Jack to fit in.
Carson seems to have made very little progress in the past two years. I was genuinely excited about his potential involvement this year but a change of manager has bought with it a change in attitude (from me) and I’m no longer convinced he possesses the ability to be an influential part of the Mick McCarthy reign.
Similar to Lee Martin, Carson doesn’t have the raw pace or skill to be our answer for the right side of midfield. Look at previous McCarthy players in Michael Kightly and Matt Jarvis, both of whom have been successful enough to earn moves to Premier League sides and hold down a place. This is the standard we can expect Mick to be looking for.
Finally, I mentioned Whight. I haven’t personally seen enough of this lad to know if he’d be a loss to us or not, but the recent acquisition and immediate squad involvement of Tyrone Mings suggests that Whight isn’t good enough. You don’t replace a teenager for another teenager unless there’s a significant gulf in quality between the two.
So, we’ve established that loans aren’t always the best thing for a club, but they are a large part of modern-day football, especially in the lower leagues in which we reside and I think it’s simply that we haven’t utilised the loan system in the way that best suits us.
There are signs to suggest that Mick is more in tune with how to do this. It’s unlikely we’ll see any more players come in on loan now as I don’t think they could all be involved anyway, but we can certainly expect to see a fair few players shipped out using this method. The next few weeks will reveal all.
Happy January transfer window everybody.
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