This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Yesterday, Football League World exclusively learnt that Portsmouth had emerged as one of the clubs interested in Exeter City’s Matt Jay.
The report also named Ipswich Town, Millwall, and Barnsley as teams in pursuit, but also suggested that up to 20 teams have been watching him at St James’ Park this season.
Jay, who netted 18 times and provided a further five assists last season, already has four goals to his name this time out.
Amassing over 100 appearances for The Grecians since his 2013 debut, with last season proving to be somewhat of a breakthrough campaign.
Quiz: Have Portsmouth ever been involved in these 18 scenarios?
With Portsmouth showing interest in the 25-year-old, we asked three of our writers here at FLW to share their thoughts on the potential move…
I really like this as a fit. Matt Jay could stay on the South Coast and Portsmouth would gain a much needed attacking midfielder.
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Jay could be the perfect foil for Marcus Harness and Ronan Curtis. With Michael Jacobs seemingly in the wilderness at Fratton Park a January exit for him could free up some space on the wage bill for Jay.
It is a surprise that the Exeter City youth product has not been the subject of more serious interest in previous windows. His goal contributions in the last few years have been incredible, head and shoulders the best attacking midfielder in League Two.
Pompey would be a good step up, the second tier could be too much of a jump too soon but Jay would command regular game time in a League One promotion pushing side.
This does look as though it has the potential to be a rather impressive signing for Portsmouth if they get it done.
So far this season, Danny Cowley’s side do look as though they have lacked a goalscorer at times, with no-one having scored more than two league goals for the club.
Adding some extra firepower could therefore be crucial to Portsmouth mounting a push for promotion back to the Championship, and Jay’s prolific record in terms of both creating and taking chances, suggests he could certainly provide that if he moves to Fratton Park.
The level of interest there is in Jay also means this could be statement of intent from Pompey if they win this transfer battle, which would be a useful morale boost for supporters, and could make this one well worth pursuing for the club.
This would be a magnificent signing for Portsmouth. Having Ronan Curtis on one wing, Marcus Harness on the other and Matt Jay up top with guarantee you goals, and it will be a much easier step up to make for Jay than moving up two tiers to ply his trade in the Championship.
John Marquis is currently struggling in front of goal, so the Exeter City man’s goals would be needed in a potential promotion charge and in turn, would perhaps help Marquis to raise his performance levels as they look to get out of their rut.
The only real downside of this potential deal is the fact he wouldn’t be able to come in until January. Ideally, Danny Cowley needs him now but they could potentially use this time to negotiate an affordable deal.
It will also be a concern that he was in the form of his life last season and hasn’t really replicated that in another campaign. Then again, he only received his first real opportunity at Exeter last term – and the time between now and January will give Cowley the chance to assess his performances and consistency ahead of a potential move.