The mass Portsmouth exodus has continued this past week with the number of players heading to other League One clubs now totalling four.
Pompey moved to tie down the foursome of Jack Whatmough, Ben Close, Ryan Williams and skipper Tom Naylor to new deals, but they were all offered reduced terms with the COVID-19 pandemic hitting the clubs finances.
But it seems as though some of Portsmouth’s potential promotion rivals next season aren’t suffering from the same misfortune as the south coast club.
Whatmough turned down a new contract to make the move to Wigan Athletic, Close has joined Doncaster Rovers and Williams has opted to return to Oxford United.
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Naylor, who played all 46 league games for Portsmouth last season, was reportedly having a medical with his hometown club Mansfield Town, but Wigan swooped in late to add him to their squad, meaning that the 29-year-old will reunite very quickly with Whatmough after they briefly went their separate ways.
Naylor’s departure means that Portsmouth have lost their leader in the engine room and one player who is seemingly gutted is striker John Marquis, who took to Twitter to express his disappointment that the midfielder has moved on.
— John Marquis (@JohnMarquis09) June 12, 2021
The loss of Naylor leaves Danny Cowley with a massive void to fill in his midfield as not only has he lost a good ball-winning midfielder, but he’s lost a leader.
Portsmouth don’t have a single central midfielder on the books right now so it’s an area that’s going to need some serious work done to it ahead of the new season.
It isn’t promising though that the club have lost four regular starters though to league rivals, and it suggests there may not be as much money floating about in the budget as supporters would like or expect this summer – but Cowley has recruited well before and you’d expect him to replace the long-serving Pompey departures well.