BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Crystal Palace have seen two bids for Flynn Downes rejected – with Ipswich Town claiming the offers have been “nowhere near” their valuation of the England U20 international.
The League One club issued a statement earlier this week in which they spelled out their stance on the midfielder.
And while they did not reveal the identity of the football club, it is at best a poorly kept secret that Palace are looking to add him to their playing squad.
The TWTD website, which describes itself as independent of Ipswich Town but appears to have excellent lines of communication to the club, claims that the Eagles initially offered £1.2million before upping it by £400,000.
The site also suggested that Ipswich were looking for at least £4m for Downes, who is contracted at Portman Road until 2022. Town also have an option to extend for a further season.
It had been reported that the Brentwood-born player had submitted a transfer request to try and expedite his exit.
Ipswich general manager Lee O’Neill said: “We have received two bids for Flynn over the last week or two but they are nowhere near the club’s valuation.
“Marcus [Evans, Ipswich owner] rejected them straight away and he has spoken personally to Flynn to make him aware of the club’s position.
“Every player strives to play at the highest level and Flynn is no different. We fully understand why a move to the Premier League would appeal to him but until the club receives an offer that meets our valuation, there is no decision to make.
“We want to keep Flynn here because he is seen as a key part of our plans. We certainly don’t welcome offers for him but we have to be realistic and accept that the good, young players we have here are going to attract interest. That doesn’t mean we have to sell them and the owner has proved that.
“Flynn understands the situation and is just getting on with his football. He’s been here 10 years, come through the academy and is now a first-team regular. In all that time, he has been fully committed to the club. While he’s here, it will always be that way because that’s the sort of person he is.”
Palace’s plan appears to be to loan Downes back out to gain more experience next season – but that would more likely be at Championship level.
He made his senior debut on the opening day of the 2017-18 season against Birmingham City.
Downes was voted Town’s Young Player of the Year in that campaign.
He has featured 74 times for Ipswich and also been capped by his country at U19 level before being selected for the age group above in November 2018.
Palace are also focused on adding to their first-team options and look set to confirm a loan deal for Chelsea midfielder Conor Gallagher.
The 20-year-old shone in his first spell away from the Blues last season as he impressed so much at Charlton that he was poached away from SE7 by Swansea City.
It is not believed that the Eagles have been able to obtain an option to buy the England U21 international.
Palace’s depleted striker options have forced manager Roy Hodgson to go with a 4-4-2 formation in their friendlies. The former Fulham and England boss went 4-3-3 for most of last season but he has Christian Benteke and Connor Wickham, who was loaned to Sheffield Wednesday last season, out with injury.
Wilfried Zaha, Jordan Ayew or Jeffrey Schlupp have played as a frontline pairing.
“They aren’t particularly centre-forwards by trade,” said Hodgson after Tuesday’s 1-0 friendly victory at Millwall. “We have to be certain that when we get the ball we play a lot through midfield because we have not got that option of the longer ball up to a target player to hold it up for us.”
Palace play their final warm-up game on Saturday when they host Danish side Brondby.
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