The Premier League transfer window opens on Friday, and there’s no doubting that Ipswich Town will be pretty busy.

The Blues will need to add some depth and quality to their squad as they look to retain their top-flight status after securing automatic promotion from the Championship. A lot has changed since they were last at this level, and it surely won’t take long for them to smash their record transfer fee of £4.5 million paid for Sampdoria goalkeeper Matteo Sereni back in 2001.

It remains to be seen how they’ll approach the coming weeks and months, but football finance expert Kieran Maguire believes that they’ll look to 'buy smarter rather than big'.

“That [decision] will come down from on high,” he told the East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star. “The owners are still relatively new in the job, but I think in Mark Ashton the club has a safe pair of hands. That’s not a criticism, I can assure you, that’s the exact opposite of a criticism.

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“We’ve seen some clubs be promoted, get giddy, spend a lot of money, not spend that money wisely and either be relegated or rack up huge losses and have lots of players for whom things haven’t worked out in that first season.

“You then have the problem of people sitting on the bench or not being picked in the squad, they’re on £60,000, £70,000 a week because the club has paid top dollar for what you might call ‘the other 14 clubs’.

“We know that we’ve got the big six, which is sort of turning into the big seven with Newcastle around and with [Aston] Villa, the big eight. For the other clubs, there’s a rough level of wages, and normally you’ll see clubs who’ve just been promoted or have been promoted for the first time in many years, they tend to be at the lower end of the wage scales.

CEO Mark Ashton has claimed the Blues will be ambitious in the transfer marketCEO Mark Ashton has claimed the Blues will be ambitious in the transfer market (Image: PA)

“Take a look at Brentford when they were promoted three seasons ago – they were only paying £30,000 a week for their first season in the Premier League. For their second season it went up to £45,000. We’ve just had their third season and, when the results come out, I think they’ll be at over £50,000.

“They were very much a lean club in terms of what they were spending, and I’d imagine that Ipswich Town might try to replicate that model. They’ve got continuity at the top of the club in terms of the chief executive [Ashton] and now of course with Kieran McKenna, and they’ll try to buy smart rather than big.

“From a fans’ point of view, the club will be linked to the player, who you’ve probably never heard of. He’s going to come in from overseas and you’ll go look at their YouTube highlights reel and form an opinion.

“Don’t get too greedy is always my view. If you take a look at those clubs that have been promoted to the Premier League and stayed there – in the past few years we’ve had [Crystal] Palace, Brighton, Forest, Brentford – those clubs have bought some of the best players from the Championship at times, who they believe can make the step up.

“They’ve probably targeted some of the less high-profile markets within Europe, South America and so on. They’ve used that to elevate the club into a more perennial or more consistent member of the Premier League.

“It’s going to be tough. The chances of doing a Sheffield United, who were promoted and finished ninth, and Leeds United, who were promoted and finished ninth, that’s the exception rather than the norm. Seventeenth next season and anything above that, in my view, would be a fantastic achievement.

Kieran Maguire has urged fans to stick behind manager Kieran McKenna if times get tough in the Premier LeagueKieran Maguire has urged fans to stick behind manager Kieran McKenna if times get tough in the Premier League (Image: PA)

“There will be times where you go six or seven matches without a win and things get a bit twitchy, but you’ve got to keep the faith in the manager, the players and the people in charge.”

Different teams have different approaches to the transfer market after sealing promotion, but is there a right way of doing business?

Ultimately, you can’t account for everything. You might do the best work you possibly can given the constraints and ultimately fall short. In theory, the best approach falls somewhere in the middle of extreme spending and unnecessary caution, but Maguire argues that it’s not always the perfect recipe for a successful season.

“You’ve got three choices,” he explained. “You can do what we sometimes refer to as an ‘air shot’, which is to spend hardly any money on the transfer market, hope that the bond in the dressing room plus the skill levels of the coach or manager are sufficient to get you through that first season.

“You can then perhaps build from there, but in the knowledge that, if it doesn’t work out, you’ll be relegated and get two seasons worth of parachute payments. You’re also likely to have a very profitable year as far as being in the Premier League is concerned.

“Then you can go again, and I think we probably saw that with Burnley the first time they were promoted to the Premier League. Norwich tried this on one of the times they were promoted and then the second time they were promoted, they tried a different model. Ultimately, both of those failed.

“You can try an air shot, spend relatively little money, keep your fingers crossed, get relegated and use that money to resource.

Nottingham Forest were deducted four points for breaching profit and sustainability rules last seasonNottingham Forest were deducted four points for breaching profit and sustainability rules last season (Image: PA)

“You can go to the other extreme: get promoted, get the chequebook out, go to the ultimate limits of what you think you can achieve as far as Financial Fair Play [FFP] is concerned.

“Forest did that and they didn’t do their sums particularly well. We’ve seen Fulham try that a few years ago, that spectacularly failed. We saw Villa do it when they were promoted, they were successful. It’s got a mixed reaction.

“Then there’s the sort of hybrid model, which is the ‘buy smart rather than buy big’ approach. The poster boys for that, as we’re fully aware, are Brighton and Brentford. Theirs is very much an analytic and algorithmic approach to recruiting players.

“The philosophy of the clubs are that the football decision makers decide on style of play. They then try to find a coach who’ll be able to implement that style of play – it’s very much a coach rather than a manager – and then they’ll try to recruit players who might not be brilliant players in their own right but are very good at that particular type of football, and see whether that’s successful or not.

“In order to do that, you’ve got to understand the numbers very well. It’s fairly well documented that Tony Bloom at Brighton and Matthew Benham at Brentford have very close connections with the betting industry on a broader sphere. They’re always trying to revise their secret sauce in terms of what will give you a marginal gain, what will give you a benefit over other clubs in terms of recruitment.

“Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn’t. In the case of both of those clubs, it’s worked to date, but you’re only one season away from getting your calculator slightly wrong and then you’ve got problems as well.”