How Ipswich Town's genius £68m transfer window is putting Sheffield United and Burnley to shame

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The Tractor Boys have already been very busy in the transfer market

Ipswich Town are assembling their very own A-Team. You may regard that as a very lacklustre Ed Sheeran joke if you wish. After 22 years away from the Premier League, the Tractor Boys motored to a second consecutive promotion last season, and have been wasting no time whatsoever on ploughing into the transfer market.

With the better part of two months still to go before the window closes, Kieran McKenna and his band of merry plunderers have already completed a club record deal for highly-rated winger Omari Hutchinson, as well as wrapping up free transfers for teenage midfielder Leon Elliott and full-back Ben Johnson. In the case of the latter, he turned down the offer of a contract extension from West Ham to secure his switch to Portman Road.

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There are others supposedly in the pipeline too. An agreement has reportedly been reached with Manchester City for promising striker Liam Delap, while a double deal for Hull City pair Jacob Greaves and Jaden Philogene is very much in the offing - despite interest in the winger from the likes of Aston Villa and Everton. Combined, that trio could join for somewhere in the region of £50 million.

And to that end, you have to give full credit to Ipswich’s owners and the money that they are injecting into the club. The Tractor Boys appear to be following a model in which they pick up the best and the brightest from the upper reaches of the Championship; players fully deserving of a shot in the top flight who will serve them well in survival or a worst case scenario of relegation, and who should theoretically boast a high resale value further down the line.

It’s a savvy blueprint, and one that could yield impressive results if it all comes together in a similar manner to the meteoric rise that we have seen at Portman Road in recent seasons. It also puts the work of other newly-promoted sides in campaigns past to shame.

Take, for instance, the trio of clubs who went up last term; Sheffield United, Burnley, and Luton Town. The Blades brought in Cameron Archer, Gustavo Hamer, Vinicius Souza, Auston Trusty, Anis Slimane, Yasser Larouci, Benie Traore, and Tom Davies, while the Clarets signed James Trafford, Jordan Beyer, Sander Berge, Dara O’Shea, Michael Obafemi, Lawrence Vigouroux, Zeki Amdouni, Nathan Redmond, Jacob Bruun Larsen, Hannes Delcroix. Very few of those names ever truly felt as if they were capable of introducing the quality needed to successfully beat the drop.

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Interestingly, for their part, Luton went down a route more similar to the one that Ipswich are taking, signing a glut of players who had shown their pedigree in the Championship in the hope that they could make the step up to Premier League football. It very nearly worked too, with the Hatters right there in the hunt for survival until the final week or two of the campaign. The key difference, however, was that Luton were not able to spend anywhere near as much as the Tractor Boys are planning to; altogether they forked out somewhere in the region of £20 million on new players - barely more than Ipswich have already paid for Hutchinson alone.

All of this is to say that the board at Portman Road are conducting their business well; seeking out real gems while ensuring that the requisite funds are available to fend off established Premier League competition for their signatures. It is a strategy that should elevate Ipswich beyond the recruitment capabilities of your average promoted cannon fodder, and if all goes to plan, then it could also be more than enough to keep them in the top flight not just next year, but for years to come.

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