AFC Wimbledon have agreed a fee of just over £1 million with Ipswich Town for Ali Al-Hamadi that will see the striker head to Portman Road, according to East Anglian Daily Times.
The 21-year-old has been the subject of various interested parties throughout the month, attracting attention from a host of Championship and League One clubs. He has hit 17 goals in 29 appearances in all competitions this season, adding to the 10 he bagged during the second half of the campaign last season after completing a transfer from Wycombe Wanderers.
The Iraq international always seemed destined for bigger things and news broke last week that the Tractor Boys had made their opening offer to the League Two club. This prompted manager Johnnie Jackson to confirm that Al-Hamadi was tempted by Ipswich’s offer at the weekend:
“There has obviously been big interest in Ali,” Jackson told South London Press following their 2-1 win over Mansfield Town on Saturday.
“He’s away with Iraq, so it’s a difficult one to navigate.
“When you have a player like that doing what he does, he’s going to attract interest. When a club like Ipswich come in, it’s obviously head-turning for the lad.”
It was initially believed that the Dons wanted £2 million for their star man, but it appears as if a compromise has been reached with a fee of just over £1 million ‘with various add-ons’. The report also claims that other clubs have attempted to steal a march on the deal, although a move to East Anglia now looks likely.
Ipswich are targeting a place in the Premier League next season for the first time since 2002. Recent form has put them at risk of losing their place in the top two, with both Southampton and Leeds United closing the gap to just one and two points respectively. Both clubs hold a much better goal difference, prompting manager Kieran McKenna to dip into the market for a new attacker.
With Freddie Ladapo having joined Charlton Athletic this month, there is space within the squad to accommodate Al-Hamadi’s arrival and McKenna will be hoping to complete the deal so he can call upon his services for this weekend’s clash with Preston North End.
The jump from League Two to the Championship is a big one and there is an element of risk attached to this transfer. However, Al-Hamadi is a player that has shone since making the drop to League Two and looks a player capable of playing in a higher division.
Kieran McKenna knows that he needs more firepower to fend off the challenge from the clubs directly below him and he will be concerned that they have only picked up one win from their last seven league fixtures, as well as their shock FA Cup exit at the hands of non-league Maidstone United at the weekend. This transfer is a risk, but one worth taking.