Hurst: Securing Bart on New Contract Like Making a New Signing
Thursday, 19th Jul 2018 12:06
Blues boss Paul Hurst says securing three-times-Player-of-the-Year Bartosz Bialkowski on a new long-term contract was like making a new signing. The 31-year-old put pen to paper on his new deal on Monday on his return from his post-World Cup break after the Blues had rebuffed interest from Birmingham City.
The Midlanders are believed to have made an offer of £2.75 million which they are believed to have subsequently increased to £3 million but owner Marcus Evans said those bids were “rejected very quickly” with Town having been in talks regarding Bialkowski’s new terms.
“There was competition, as the owner’s said, and we did have a bid for him, a serious bid,” Hurst said.
“But I always got the feeling, speaking to Bart without seeing him face to face with him being away at the World Cup, that he did like Ipswich. I never got a real sense that he really wanted to leave.
“Obviously, he nearly signed the contract [in January] but it didn’t quite happen, so there was a little bit of a hangover from that, but overall I got the feeling that he didn’t really want to go anywhere else.
“Thankfully, with the owner’s backing, we’ve managed to secure him on a long deal. He’s back in training, he feels good.
“In all honesty, I think he’s felt a bit better than he thought he would and we’ll be looking to involve him on Saturday.”
Hurst says tying the Poland international down to the deal, which runs to the summer of 2021 with the club having an option for a further season, is like making a new signing: “It feels like that to me because there was a big sense that he may move on to a new part of his career, a new football club.
“Naturally you want to better yourself, whether that’s financially or otherwise. He’s 31, he’s probably got two contracts left in him and one when he’s in his prime.
“He’s very well respected and I was delighted when it came round and I think Marcus has to have a lot of credit there in terms of making Bart understand that he is valued.
“I’m delighted to get him on board and I’ll see him on Saturday for the first time in a game when I’m his manager.”
While Bialkowski has been away from the club, his deputy Dean Gerken has impressed in the two UK-based pre-season fixtures having missed the second half of last season after undergoing hip surgery.
“If Bart comes in and throws goals in I’m not just going to play him, he’s got to do it,” Hurst added.
“I’m sure he would expect that and so would Dean if it was the other way round.
“It’s a big step for Dean to play 90 minutes [against Crawley] because it’s a long time since he’s done that.
“We tried to nurse him along and we’re now at a stage where it should give him confidence that he’s played because it’s a serious injury he’s had.
“There might be times we do have to manage him going forward but the game time he’s had is a big plus for him.”
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