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Opinion: Portsmouth have both completed a coup and taken a risk with deal for 27-year-old



After something of a slow start to the transfer window in terms of incomings, Portsmouth were able to kick start their 2021 summer recruitment drive on Tuesday night.

The arrival of Clark Robertson on a two-year deal following his departure from relegated Championship side Rotherham United at the end of last season in the wake of the expiry of his contract with the Millers, marked Pompey’s first piece of senior recruitment of the summer.

In some ways as well, it was certainly an impressive deal for Portsmouth to get that business underway with as well.

Having been part of a club who dropped out of the Championship to League One this summer, the fact that Robertson has been willing to move to another third-tier club in Portsmouth is encouraging for the club.

Given every player will no doubt want to play at the highest level possible, that is something that suggests that the defender must be confident this is a club that can take him back to the Championship sooner rather than later.

Indeed, with Robertson a player who has experience of both playing in the Championship, and winning promotion to that level, he is someone who certainly ought to be a useful asset for Danny Cowley’s side as they target a place in that division next season, after narrowly missing out on a play-off during the last campaign.

It is also worth noting that Portsmouth seemingly beat off some significant interest in Robertson to secure his signature. Pompey’s League One promotion rivals Sunderland, and the defender’s former club, Scottish Premiership side Aberdeen, were also among those credited with an interest in the 27-year-old, with both clubs likely to have been tempting potential destinations for the defender.

Taking all that into consideration with regards to Robertson’s pedigree and rival interest, there is certainly an argument to be made that this is something of a coup for Portsmouth, although it is hard not to feel that it also comes with a fair bit of risk attached to it.

Across the course of his three-year spell with Rotherham that came to an end this summer, Robertson featured in just 61 of a possible 127 league games for the Millers, meaning he missed more league games than he played for Paul Warne’s side.

That is something that was largely down to a luckless injury record that Robertson endured during his time at The New York Stadium, and there has to be some concern about whether he will be able to shake that off now that he has arrived at Fratton Park.

Last season saw Robertson make just 16 league appearances for the Millers, and start just twice after February.

Consequentially, there may well be some questions about just how match fit and ready Robertson will be come the start of the season for Portsmouth, when they will no doubt want to start strongly in their pursuit of promotion.

Indeed, should Robertson not quite be ready for the start of the season, that is something that could leave him playing catch-up in the pecking order at Fratton Park, or exposed in the centre of defence in the early days of the campaign.

Furthermore, if those injury problems do persist for Robertson, then they may have to face the possibility of having to bring in another defender to fill the void that you feel the Scot was brought in to fill following the departure of Jack Whatmough earlier this summer.

With that in mind, while there can be no doubt that Portsmouth have done well here to win the race for Robertson’s signature, it does seem that the defender’s recent history, means that it may be some time before we now for certain, whether their efforts in getting that business done, has actually paid off.

UCLan Sports Journalism graduate, been writing for Football League World since March 2019. I've previously worked for the likes of Blackburn Rovers and Opta, among others.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Opinion: Portsmouth have both completed a coup and taken a risk with deal for 27-year-old

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