Sunderland's promotion rivals complete 18th signing as they ramp up bid to challenge Black Cats

Ipswich Town have today completed their 18th signing of the summer window.

Tuesday, 31st August 2021, 2:30 pm
Sergio Busquets of Spain is challenged by Bersant Celina of Kosovo during the FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar qualifying match between Spain and Kosovo at Estadio Olimpico on March 31, 2021 in Seville, Spain. (Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images)

Ipswich Town have confirmed the signing of Bersant Celina on a season-long loan from French side Dijon - making it eighteen signings for Paul Cook's side.

The 24-year-old previously enjoyed a loan spell with Town for the 2017/18 season during his time with Premier League champions Manchester City and becomes their fifth loan signing upon his return.

Ipswich are hopeful that their complete overhaul will catapult them up to the Championship after they saw 16 players depart the club in the summer.

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Bersant Celina of Ipswich Town in action during the Sky Bet Championship match between Birmingham City and Ipswich Town at St Andrews on March 31, 2018 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Some of their signings this summer include attacking reinforcements such as Conor Chaplin, Louie Barry and Sone Aluko – while the League One side also beat Sunderland to the signings of Joe Pigott and Scott Fraser.

Town have also impressed with the arrivals of highly-rated midfielder Kyle Edwards from West Brom and George Edmundson from Scottish champions Rangers.

The Tractor Boys will be preparing to challenge the likes of Sunderland, Portsmouth and Sheffield Wednesday for an automatic promotion spot, however it is the Black Cats that are currently leading the way – with Paul Cook’s side sitting in 21st place after their opening five fixtures.

The new-look squad has struggled to gel so far, with Ipswich Town’s most recent starting XI against AFC Wimbledon featuring only two players that were at the club last season.

The number of fresh faces at the Suffolk club is yet to have the positive effect that Paul Cook had initially hoped and they are still waiting for their first league win after drawing three and losing twice.

Despite a poor start to the League One campaign, former Sunderland targets Pigott and Fraser have both got off the mark, with the former scoring two goals in four games, while Fraser has picked up one goal and one assist in three appearances for his new club.

It is unclear whether Ipswich Town will delve any further into the transfer market as we get closer and closer to the deadline – meanwhile Sunderland fans await the exciting arrivals of Bayern Munich pair Ron Thorbert-Hoffman and Leon Dajaku.

The Wearside club have clearly approached the summer window differently to Ipswich Town – opting for quality not quantity and taking their time getting the targets they want.