Ipswich Town player must be considering his future as Chelsea attacker arrives at Portman Road: Opinion
Marcus Harness didn’t start often in the final few months of last season for the Tractor Boys, and he could end up being replaced by Omari Hutchinson
Even though they didn’t finish top of League One last season with Plymouth Argyle beating them to the third tier title, a lot is expected of Ipswich Town when they return to the Championship next month after four years away.
The Tractor Boys slumped back into the third tier in 2019 and didn’t even made the play-offs for three straight years, but they didn’t need them as it happened in the 2022-23 season as second place was enough to secure their spot back in the second tier of English football.
Kieran McKenna’s side were prolific in attack for the majority of the campaign, scoring 101 times in 46 league matches to grab at least some sort of record for the year after missing out on the league title to the Pilgrims.
Their plus 66 goal difference was streets ahead of the rest of the league and Ipswich have kept the important parts of their squad together for the upcoming campaign, with two permanent seven-figure additions in the form of George Hirst – a loanee from last season – and midfielder Jack Taylor from Peterborough United.
Despite their goalscoring abilities last season though, McKenna is seemingly looking to bring fresh faces into the Ipswich squad in the final third, and they’ve landed the services of Chelsea teenager Omari Hutchinson for the entirety of 2023-24.
The 19-year-old Jamaica international was poised for a mid-season switch to West Bromwich Albion in the 2022-23 season, only for Karlan Grant’s move to Swansea City to fall through and then in-turn cancel his addition to the ranks at The Hawthorns, so he has not has much in the way of senior football at all – he has however played twice for Chelsea’s first-team last season.
Ipswich have now landed the services of Hutchinson though, who is either an attacking midfielder or a right winger who cuts in onto his stronger left foot, and it could theoretically make Marcus Harness’ position at Portman Road untenable as it could push him down the pecking order.
What is Marcus Harness’ current situation with Ipswich Town?
Harness only arrived at Town last summer as they raided then-League One rivals Portsmouth for his services for a fee of £750,000, and for the first half of his debut season he was starting regularly on both flanks and as a number 10.
Following the mid-season switch of formatiom from a 3-4-2-1 to a 4-2-3-1 though, Harness started to see less game-time with McKenna going with a trio of Wes Burns, Conor Chaplin and January signing Nathan Broadhead behind a lone strike
Harness still appeared off the bench with regularity but Burns was the favoured choice in his position and he couldn’t reclaim it and there’s no reason to believe he will get it back in the Championship, with just 10 matches of experience to his name at that level at the age of 27.
He is however contracted at the club for another two years, with Ipswich holding the option to extend his deal for another year into 2026.
Should Marcus Harness depart Ipswich this summer?
It looked as though a new right-sided attacking midfielder was on McKenna’s radar, which would put Harness as third-choice in that position.
Harness could play in the number 10 as he has done along with Chaplin when McKenna has played with a back three, but Sone Aluko will be backing Conor Chaplin up in that area so game-time will still be limited if there is no injuries.
At the age of 27, Harness should be at the peak of his powers but if he’s getting little in the way of minutes this coming season then he should look to be moving on.
It would take a decent fee to get him out of Ipswich though due to his contract situation and the fact he notched 11 goal contributions in all competitions last season means he has something to offer at least at the top end of League One – so he needs to consider his future if Town are looking at players like Hutchinson