Lambert Expresses Transfer Frustrations: It's the Way the Club's Run
Friday, 2nd Aug 2019 11:34
Town boss Paul Lambert expressed his frustrations with the incoming transfer situation at his first press conference of the new season this morning, citing “the way the club’s run” for the lack of new signings.
Having said he hoped to make three permanent additions last week, Town have added keeper Will Norris on loan to replace Bartosz Bialkowski, who has joined Millwall on a similar basis, while another loan deal, the signing of Lions striker Tom Elliott, broke down due to concerns regarding his hamstring injury.
While trialist central defender James Wilson is set to sign a short-term deal until January today, Lambert says nothing else is currently in the pipeline.
“No, there's no one coming in which is frustrating,” he said. “But that's football here, and as I said before, we identified guys and it's not materialised, so that's where we are.”
Is that going to change over the course of the next few weeks? "I really don't know."
What's the issue been? Players asking for too much money, clubs asking for too much money? “Work it out yourself, you work it out yourself.”
A lack of budget here? A lack of investment? “You work it yourself; they're not coming and that's the way it is. We have to go with what we've got, the lads will give us everything, they're really young, but they're ready for the game.”
Is he surprised that it has been difficult to bring players in? “It's the way the club's run, it's the way it is.”
After admitting that the squad needs a bit of help - “Of course we do” - Lambert was asked whether he needs more funds from the owner.
“We've brought in two free transfers and one loan and maybe one short-term, you don't need to be Einstein to see what it is,” he responded.
Asked whether that is enough to get out of League One, Lambert gave a perhaps sobering assessment: “No it's not, absolutely not.”
He added: “I'm not happy with the situation and the way things are. I've said before that the club is a brilliant club and it's got a brilliant fanbase behind it with lads that need a bit of help. We can't sit here and say it's right what's happening.”
Does Lambert believe that the slowness in getting deals done is down to the structure of the club with owner Marcus Evans in charge of transfer negotiations rather than a sporting director/director of football or a chief executive?
“I don’t know because I’ve not been here too long, you’ll know better than I do, I don’t know how it kind of works,” he said. “But I’ve been at a lot of clubs and played at a lot of clubs so, maybe it is the way here.”
Does the owner being involved in his other businesses a factor in deals not getting done as quickly as he would like? “I don’t know, I really don’t. I don’t know. All I’m interested in is the football club, all I’m interested in is the club - the club, the team, the support.
“That’s everything, no outside influence on anything else or anything else on the outside, it’s the football club that’s the most important.”
He says Evans is aware of his frustrations - “Yes” - and asked whether he is willing to do something about it said: “I don't know. I need to ask him that as well.”
Regarding his relationship with the Blues’ owner, he continued: “It's good. He says his bit and I say my bit, and somewhere along the line we try and meet in the middle.”
Asked if the pair are currently on a different page with the regard to the transfer situation, he said: “No, you're saying that, you can't allege that, we're not on a different page, the two of us know exactly how it is, but it's not my money.”
Given the lack of available funds, might he have to sell in order to buy? “There could be a bit of that, but we have to wait and see.”
But he says the players he has, he wants to keep: “Yeah, that's exactly it. But that's the challenge of management at times, I don't mind that and that can happen, it's the size of the club and expectancy level is really big.
“The history and what happened in the past attached to it with a great team and lads that have been promoted here and the great UEFA Cup team.
“The history of the club is huge, and quite rightly it should have that feeling about it, but if you have to sell to bring people in then, I'm pretty sure that's going to be a factor.”
But he says there’s been little interest in his players this summer in any case: “Apart from Judgey, I've not heard too much.”
Lambert says he still wants to bring in those three players with Town having until September 2nd to add to the squad: “Yes, but they're not going to come in before tomorrow, that's for sure.
"Then hopefully [Jon] Nolan and [Gwion] Edwards start to come back, and then Toto [Nsiala]. Luke [Chambers] will be back, so hopefully, we'll get one or two back and become stronger.”
Lambert played down the chances of former loanee Will Keane coming into his thoughts: “Will did really well and got a really bad injury with his hamstring.
“I don't know what he's been doing training-wise, or if he's been training with a team or individually, you can't compare training individually to a team, it's impossible because you'll never get the fitness back.
“So, even if we were to sign Will Keane the number of weeks it would take him to get up to speed could easily be into September, eight or nine games. So the likelihood would be no.”
He dismissed the suggestion that he might not have sold Ellis Harrison if he’d known there would be a struggle to bring in additions.
“Ellis had to go, that was important for Ellis, and I don't want to keep someone here that wants to go or finds themselves down the pecking order, whatever it is you don't want that to happen,” he said.
“[James] Norwood’s come in and been unbelievable for us, [Kayden] Jackson’s playing well, Idris [El Mizouni] is stepping up to the plate, so there are options, but we still need a little bit of help there.”
Would Harrison have been the third choice striker if he’d remained at the club? “No, because everybody starts on a clean slate at the start of the season.
“It’s who performs in the pre-season games and you think, 'He's playing well, we can go with him,' so everybody would have been an equal.”
He says he’s not seen anything of the £450,000 from Harrison’s sale to Portsmouth with much of it having gone to his former club Bristol Rovers.
“Ellis Harrison money went back to Bristol Rovers,” he said. “How much of it? All of it. So there’s no money that’s come in.”
Asked how that worked, he added: “The sell-on thing or whatever it is, it goes back, it doesn't come in here. If he came in here then I’m pretty sure I’d have spent it. Have you seen me buy anybody?”
The Blues have also received significant sell-ons from Matt Clarke’s switch from Portsmouth to Brighton and Tyrone Mings’s move from AFC Bournemouth to Aston Villa, while they could land another windfall of around £1 million with Adam Webster expected to join the Seagulls from Bristol City for a fee in excess of £20 million and another £325,000 with Kieffer Moore expected to join Wigan from Barnsley for £4 million.
“Mings, Clarke, maybe Webster, we haven’t bought one player,” the Blues boss continued. “I don’t know if the money has come in, nobody has told me it has come in. I don’t know.”
He added: “Whatever way those deals were structured before I came in, whenever the money comes in, it could be three years’ time down the line, four years down the line, it could be now, I don’t know.
"But you haven’t seen one player I’ve bought, I’ve not bought a player.”
However, having said in the past that he was initially reticent about taking the job due to his previous Norwich City connections, he says he has no regrets.
“No, I wouldn’t have changed for the world to be in front of the support," he added.
"The support’s been brilliant. The feeling towards us as staff since we came in, I think it's been unrivalled, I think that’s been apparent.
“I would never change the support for all the money in the world because they’ve been brilliant with me.
“Frustration at the way that things probably don’t get done as quick as the way [I would like], but that’s football. But it’s certainly a little bit different but the support I wouldn’t change.”
Meanwhile, we understand claims in the Turkish media claiming Trabzonspor are trying to sign Blues keeper Bartosz Bialkowski on a permanent basis despite his loan move to Millwall having been completed earlier in the week are wide of the mark.
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