Portsmouth transfer news: Ipswich CEO sheds light on failed move for Joe Morrell
Chief executive Mark Ashton has shed light on Ipswich’s failed move for Joe Morrell by claiming they were simply ‘too late’ with their bid to lure the midfielder to Portman Road.
The Tractor Boys CEO also revealed he had spoken to the now Pompey ace since his subsequent switch to Fratton Park from Luton and that there was ‘no issue’ with the player following the collapse of a potential deal.
Morrell completed his move to the Blues late on Monday, August 9, for an undisclosed fee.
But it was by no means a simple transfer to get across the line.
At one point League One rivals Ipswich looked set to hijack a deal which Danny Cowley had been working tirelessly on to complete.
Indeed, after agreeing to make the move, Morrell informed the Blues boss of a change of heart on the Sunday.
He then sensationally backtracked on that decision before signing a three-year deal – with the Blues having the option of a further 12 months.
It wasn’t the first time that the division’s big-spenders had caused havoc with Pompey’s transfer plans this summer.
Hours earlier the Tractor Boys walked away from a deal for winger Michael Jacobs, who had undergone a thorough medical at Portman Road, in favour of a swoop for free-agent Kyle Edwards.
Yet speaking to the East Anglian Daily Times, Ashton said Morrell and Rotherham’s Matt Crooks were the only ‘specific targets’ Ipswich missed out on this summer.
And a key factor in the Morrell failure was the timing of their approach.
After completing deals for 19 players over the course of the close season. Ashton told the EADT: ‘Looking back, I think that’s (the Matt Crooks deal) probably the only one that was a specific target that we wanted, we went for and we didn't get.
‘Outside of that I couldn’t name one that we really went for and didn’t get.
‘We have lists of names, you’re always active in the market and you have to be in the game for a tonne of players. That doesn’t mean that you’re pushing forward on all of them though.
‘In fairness, there was also Joe Morrell, which was well publicised.
‘But there’s no issue with Joe there at all. I’ve spoken to Joe since. He was at the other football club being medicaled when we made our offer. We were too late to the party. These things happen.
‘Ultimately, I think we’ve had a good strike rate.’
Speaking to The News on August 12 about his move to the south coast and his decision not to join Ipswich, Morrell said: ‘I did have to make a phone call on Sunday to him (Cowley) to say I am probably going to another club after agreeing a deal here, which was never the intention.
‘There was another football club which had given me a good offer on Saturday night, something at that time which I was thinking seriously about, and his reaction made me even more motivated to come to Pompey.
‘He obviously sounded gutted, but he wasn’t annoyed or frustrated. He handled that brilliantly and, in the end, that played a big part in me coming here.’