Portsmouth manager Danny Cowley has ruled out the possibility of signing Millwall full-back Mahlon Romeo this summer, citing their lack of financial resources as the reason why as he spoke to Hampshire Live.
He was first linked with a move to Fratton Park yesterday afternoon by The News, with fellow right-back Callum Johnson leaving for Fleetwood Town on a loan deal on Friday and Cowley keen to find a replacement for the 24-year-old.
With this, a loan deal for second-tier defender Romeo was reportedly in the pipeline in what would have been a shock move to League One.
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The Millwall man has been a regular for the Lions at The Den since his arrival from Gillingham in 2015 and even made a reasonably impressive 35 league appearances for Gary Rowett’s side last term, carrying the ability to operate in a more advanced position and possessing the versatility needed to be a useful first-team option in the capital.
After failing to win any of their first four league matches, the Championship side’s victory against Blackpool yesterday afternoon came as a huge relief to his side and they will now be hoping to climb their way up the table.
Portsmouth were on the other side of the coin with their loss against Wigan Athletic this weekend, but still remain fifth in the third tier and could be joining Romeo in the Championship next season if they can maintain their form.
However, the 24-year-old will definitely not be arriving on the south-coast during this season, with Pompey manager putting this rumour to bed after yesterday’s match at the DW Stadium.
He said to Hampshire Live: “He’s a very good player. Not (going to sign Romeo) unless you’ve got some money that I didn’t know about and you’re willing to give to me.
“We won’t be able to sign players of that (budget).”
This may seem like a puzzling statement due to the fact this move would only be a loan. But with Romeo being a key player at The Den as late as last season, Millwall would want Portsmouth to pay at least a sizeable chunk of his wages in a temporary deal.
They may have also demanded a loan fee to potentially free up some funds for another arrival and considering the fact he’s still a regular first-team member, any deal struck may have needed to have been a permanent one to tempt the Lions to cash in.
The fact the full-back only signed a fresh long-term deal last year would also bump his price up and considering the gulf in finances between the Championship and League One, there was very little chance this deal would have got past the first hurdle, even if Cowley was interested in his services.
Considering how he likes to get forward and the second-tier experience he has, you wouldn’t blame the Pompey boss for potentially wanting to pursue this deal.
But at this stage of the window with the need to find a temporary replacement for Callum Johnson, they don’t have time to chase unrealistic targets. This is why these latest quotes should be a source of encouragement for the League One side’s fans.