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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