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O'Neill: My Phone Has Been Constantly Ringing
Saturday, 11th Jan 2020 21:08

Town general manager of football operations Lee O’Neill says his phone has been constantly ringing over the last few days but that the Blues have received no bids and want to keep young players such as Flynn Downes and Luke Woolfenden at Portman Road.

Downes is understood to have been watched closely this season by Fulham and West Ham among other clubs, while Woolfenden is interesting QPR with Sheffield United reported to be keeping tabs earlier today.

“If my phone wasn’t ringing about our players, I’d be worried,” O’Neill told BBC Radio Suffolk’s Life’s a Pitch (1hr 31mins 48secs) when asked about interest in the duo.

“My phone has been constantly ringing over the last three or four days, about all of our players.

“We have a healthy squad so that other teams want our players. Therefore, that suggests we’ve got good players, especially in this league.

“Those players that you’ve mentioned, I’m sure they are on other clubs’ radars and lists. The football club doesn’t want to be in a situation to sell our young players, they’re here for us to try and help our club to go forward.

“As [owner] Marcus [Evans] has said and [manager] Paul [Lambert] has come out and said on a number of occasions, if there’s an economic business situation we cannot turn down, then we’d have to look at it separately.

“But the plan is we want those young players to be here, along with the senior players to drive the club forward.”

O'Neill was asked if the cash from any sales would be reinvested in the squad.

“If we were [in that situation], and I said it would have to be a really good offer for a player to be sold, if that was to ever occur, then yes we would look at areas where we think we can strengthen the squad for reinvestment purposes," he said. "That’s a conversation we have had.”

Would that be in terms of fees rather than just to cover wages, reducing the annual shortfall owner Evans has to cover?

“There’s never such a thing as a free transfer when you look at it because [there are costs] one way or another, players’ wages [for example],” O’Neill continued.

“Fees obviously yes, if we have to buy a player. We’re actively looking at making sure we can profile the right type of players for the future.

“The younger players in particular are ones that we’ve identified and we want to keep them and we would look to build on that if we ever have a situation that occurred.

“But I must emphasise that it’s a hypothetical situation, we don’t want to sell any of our younger players, we want to keep them at this football club.”

Despite the regular phone calls, O'Neill says the Blues have had no offers for any member of the squad.

“We’ve had no bids for our players,” he confirmed. “We’ve had enquiries about whether would we sell, similar to you asking the questions now. They know the good players.

“We’ll have scouts at this game today, we’ll have scouts at every game we play. If they’re playing well, they’re on other clubs’ lists.

“They’re also international players that play for their countries, so they’re on other people’s radars from that side of things.”

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Cloddyseedbed added 21:16 - Jan 11
Probably a good idea to turn your phone off then. This season we need to keep hold of our best players at whatever cost. We will never progress always selling our better players because under this regime they are not replaced with players of the same standard. The end of the season is when sales should take place if need be.

algarvefan added 22:00 - Jan 11
I think to lose either of those players now would be criminal and would set the fans against the owner and manager. If we have ambition then keep them until the end of the season, we will never build that total football side by keeping on selling our best players.

ITFCsince73 added 22:14 - Jan 11
ITFC being such a soft touch in the past, I expect the phone has been busy.
Hopefully lessons learned, nobody can no longer take towns best players on the cheap. Or indeed for nothing.

ghostofescobar added 22:56 - Jan 11
Phil, not sure you need to put (owner) Marcus (Evans) and (manager) Paul (Lambert): we know who they are. Might save you a bit of typing and you can get to bed a bit earlier. Sweet dreams!

itfchorry added 23:18 - Jan 11
Phil ( Site Manager )

runningout added 23:19 - Jan 11
We have more improving and better quality players now than we had a few years ago. Hope certain people in position at our once great club realise this and no ropey deals are done

raycrawfordswig added 23:55 - Jan 11
My phone keeps ringing .im getting fed up with call centres and scammers as well lol

Steve_ITFC_Sweden added 05:39 - Jan 12
I’m willing to take over transfer operations. Although I have a mobile phone via work, I don’t carry it around with me and hardly ever switch it on.

Cakeman added 06:33 - Jan 12
I just hope this talk and speculation doesn’t turn the heads of our promising players.
It’s all well and good not selling them but if they want to go then it would be difficult for us to keep their hearts at our club.

billlm added 08:05 - Jan 12
He's just using the press to drum up some business,

Saxonblue74 added 08:28 - Jan 12
I know as a club we're in a difficult situation, but if we're talking "good economic business" then wouldn't it be better to develop these youngsters further whilst benefitting in our promotion quest? Classic case of speculate to accumulate?

jas0999 added 08:36 - Jan 12
Despite all the spin, we have heard all of this before. If a decent offer is made then Evans will sell. He will then free up a percentage of the funds received for the manager to sign a cheaper (and often not so good) replacement. Alternatively a short term loan deal.

For years, despite still losing money, Evans has been using transfer funds to reduce significantly his annual investment. His money.

r2d2 added 09:43 - Jan 12
Evans businesses are making more than ever. He is richer than when he bought the club. He should be investing some of that money into the squad. Not selling our rising stars.

DanSuperTown added 14:12 - Jan 12
Why should he? He invests heavily every season to keep them afloat, he should be setting them up so when he is gone the club is self sustaining, with the highest possible quality youth set up, training facilities and scouting networks as well as good international networks in terms of global branding. Unfortunately it seems it's taken guidance from Lambert to get any of those elements going

Saxonblue74 added 16:29 - Jan 12
Dansupertown, exactly right. No self respecting businessman will continually subsidise a loss making business through other more successful ones. What he is doing is keeping us afloat, which to me suggests that he cares. It's when he stops caring that us fans need to worry as that could potentially lead us out of business entirely.

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