Outgoing Portsmouth CEO Mark Catlin has confirmed that the club are resigned to losing a quartet of players that have been offered new contracts and that they are moving on to look at replacements.
Danny Cowley is looking to put his own stamp on the Pompey squad after arriving as the new head coach in March, and he signed a long-term deal to remain at Fratton Park when the season concluded.
Just four new deals were offered out by the club, with centre-back Jack Whatmough, midfielders Ben Close and Tom Naylor and winger Ryan Williams getting extensions handed to them.
But weeks have passed and none have been signed by the players, despite Close and Williams in particular stating that they wanted to remain at Pompey.
The foursome were all offered reduced wages though from what they are currently on and that may be why it looks likely that they will end up at other clubs.
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Whilst the door hasn’t been closed on any of them re-signing with Portsmouth, Catlin’s admission of replacements being targeted certainly indicates that it could be the end for them.
“You want to stay loyal to those in the short-term to give them a chance. Do they want to accept? Do they not want to accept?” Catlin said of the soon-to-be out of contract players, per The News.
“Ultimately, though, as a club we have to move on – and we are in that period.
“But it’s fair to say in the positions of those players, we are now actively out there looking and speaking to other players to give us options.
“We’re in the phase now where if someone came up in a position where we currently have an offer on the table, then we would actively consider it.
‘Good luck to all four players, there is no obligation whatsoever to effect a deal. If they can find a better offer or something which suits them better then good luck to them, they go with our best wishes.”
You could see this coming a mile off considering all four players would have had to take a wage cut to remain at Fratton Park.
Close and Whatmough could probably get Championship moves – although the latter has been criticised by Portsmouth fans recently for his performances, whilst Naylor apparently wants to move back up north so you can understand his reasoning for not penning a new deal.
Danny Cowley wants to bring his own identity to the club in terms of his squad but losing four key players won’t be easy, especially when it looks like he wanted to keep all of them around.
In terms of the clubs in League One though, Pompey are a big attraction and Cowley is a good coach, so they should have no problems replacing them.