Why Flynn Downes could be a good long-term signing for Fulham
TWTD understands that Fulham’s assistant director of football operations and chief scout, Brian Talbot, was in attendance at Portman Road for the recent FA Cup tie against Lincoln City, with the Cottagers continuing to monitor Downes at close quarters.
Downes, who became Ipswich Town’s youngest ever skipper when he donned the captain’s armband in the 1-1 FA Cup draw against Coventry, has made eyeballs turn with a string of impressive displays for Paul Lambert’s side in the third-tier this term.
The report doesn’t mention whether Fulham are scouting Flynn Downes with a view to a potential transfer in January. The 20-year-old is under contract at Portman Road until the summer of 2022, with Ipswich holding the option of extending his stay by a further 12 months.
Born in Brentwood, Downes rose through the youth system at Ipswich Town before bursting on to the scene as a teenage sensation during the club’s 2017-18 season in the Championship under the stewardship of Mick McCarthy.
The defensive midfielder clocked up as many as 10 appearances for the Tractor Boys in the first half of the 2017-18 campaign before being sent out on loan to Luton Town in the League Two.
Having helped the Hatters secure promotion to the League One, Downes returned to Portman Road ahead of the 2018-19 campaign and went on to play a more substantial first-team role under Paul Lambert.
The 20-year-old started 21 games in the Championship the last term and featured as a substitute 8 times even as Ipswich Town eventually suffered relegation.
A drop down to the third-tier made life a lot easier for the academy prospect, who has started 13 out of Ipswich’s 17 fixtures in the League One so far.
Ipswich currently find themselves in the mix for automatic promotion and Downes has been instrumental in the club’s bright start to the season, scoring and assisting once apiece.
As per WhoScored, Flynn Downes has averaged 38.2 passes per game at an accuracy rate of 80.5%, including 2.8 tackles, 1.7 interceptions, 0.7 key passes and 1.3 dribbles per game in the League One, figures which lie testament to his many skills as a defensive midfielder.
That he has successfully completed 37 out of his attempted 50 tackles (74% accuracy) and 17 out of 21 dribbles speak volumes of his rapid development as a midfielder and Fulham’s interest in his services certainly seem to make a lot of sense.
To put things into perspective, Flynn Downes might not be the finished article just yet but Fulham should not hesitate to snap him up as a long-term prospect.
The England U20 international has already made significant strides towards fulfilling his vast potential and the Cottagers would have a gem on their hands if he goes on to live up to his potential.
Notwithstanding the fact that Fulham are currently well-stocked in their options in the middle of the park, the Cottagers will need a reshuffling of options in central midfield by the end of the campaign when some of the loan stars depart.
The likes of Harry Arter and Harrison Reed are only on loan from Bournemouth and Southampton respectively. A promising up and coming player like Downes could effectively sort out Fulham’s midfield for the next decade, with veteran Kevin McDonald already 31.
Tom Cairney and Stefan Johansen are more suited to creative box-to-box roles rather than falling under the bracket of defensive midfielders.
Given his potential and the kind of progress he has shown of late, Downes is capable of working wonders for the Cottagers.
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Having said that, Fulham should continue to keep close tabs on the Ipswich Town starlet and make an official approach to secure his services when the transfer window reopens in January.