EVERY time I see one of my Ipswich Town-supporting mates, we have the same football argument.

It is over loan signings and their purpose in football. I maintain supplementing a squad with one or two can make a big difference and benefit all parties. He thinks they are a crime in football today, used only to improve a player before they are then shipped back to the gleeful parent club. 

Our most recent discussion came just days before Massimo Luongo signed on a season-long loan from Tottenham.


I caught my first glimpse of the lad at Cambridge United on Wednesday night and I was really impressed. Assured on the ball with either foot, he never went hiding and barely put a foot wrong.

Operating in a holding midfield position - Luongo's best position according to Paul Jewell - the first impressions of the 19-year-old are that he should have a bright future in the game as well as a decent 12 months at Portman Road.

My argument against Luongo is not that he is being groomed for a bigger club, more that PJ has targeted the wrong position.

Right now, if Town signed a new striker, probably Steve Davies, and then got a fourth striker, probably Sam Baldock, on loan, I wouldn't grumble. The Blues still need a fourth centre-back and the loan market would seem a viable option so finances could be better targeted at other priorities.

Unlike other areas, the centre of their midfield is one area where Ipswich have a number of options. What message does bringing in Luongo give to Luke Hyam, Ryan Stevenson, Andy Drury and Jimmy Bullard?

This is especially true for Hyam who could be the one player in direct competition with the Aussie-born teenager.

Luke Hyam played every minute in last week's tour of the Netherlands and then got another 90 minutes under his belt at Braintree. 24 hours later, Luongo shone in the 2-0 win at Cambridge. This is a snapshot of young Hyam's time under Jewell.

It is difficult to judge based on a handful of pre-season friendlies but Luongo already looks more assured than Hyam who was forced to watch on from the dugout.

While Hyam enjoys good support from the Super Blues, and not just because of his Ipswich roots, I have always been left wondering if this is reciprocated by the manager.

Why only offer him a one-year deal? Why drop Hyam last season after just one bad game?

Hyam is nowhere near the finish article. But he needs a huge shot of confidence that an extended run in the team can give. What he didn't need is some Spurs youngster coming in when there were bigger priorities elsewhere.

Luongo will improve the Town squad. But he joined the Blues at the same time as committing himself to Tottenham until 2014.

In 12 months time, he will be returning to White Hart Lane. At the same time, Hyam might not have had enough chances in the Championship to win himself a fresh deal. And if that is the case, I wouldn't bet against him proving Jewell wrong elsewhere.