Portsmouth CEO Mark Catlin has explained to fans why the club have been taking their time in the transfer market, as reported by Hampshire Live.
Pompey have been quiet in the transfer market this summer, only signing Lee Brown and Sean Raggett on permanent deals, despite seeing Luke McGee, Brandon Haunstrup, Christian Burgess, Matt Casey, Oli Hawkins, Adam May and Brett Pitman all leave the club. However, with the salary cap introduction also limiting squad numbers, Pompey only have three outfield spaces available for senior professionals.
The lack of action has led to some anger from sections of the support, but Catlin explained the club’s situation, claiming the flexibility in loan deals has led to the reticence in recruiting.
“If we’d have signed up players before the salary cap, and there was some huge deals go through, over-inflated deals at the point to beat the salary cap, we took the view that we’ve only got three slots available anyway,” he said.
“Now there’s a lot more flexibility in the loan market in regards to the lengths of contracts. The allowance isn’t a weekly allowance, it’s annual. So in a shorter time frame you get more value for your money because it’s an annualised fee for the cap.
“Over a shorter period you can go from, what is the basic £1350 p/w effectively per player, and if you signed them for six months as an example on a loan, or a short period, you can obviously go to £2700 p/w so you get more value for your money in the loan market.”
Whilst that explanation will go some way to placating supporters, there will still be dissenting voices, but the salary cap has restricted the business the club can do, as Catlin added: “I understand the frustration in not signing players but I stress again, we do only have three slots,” he said.
“If we’d have signed them even before the salary cap vote, if we’d have signed two or three players we wouldn’t have any flexibility now.”
Last season, Pompey boasted four loan players including new recruit Raggett. Steve Seddon, Cameron McGeehan and Ross McCrorie were the other three and between them, those players made 90 League One appearances.
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The bigger clubs in League One are being careful, and rightly so. Big squads were a luxury they could afford last season, but the new rules make it harder for them to carry professionals who might not get a game. Take Reeco Hackett-Fairchild as an example; the club could afford to take a punt on him last season, but with one outing to his name after sealing a move from Bromley, he now takes up a vital squad place.
Portsmouth still have a strong squad, last year’s play-off failure might rankle supporters, but even without adding to their current offering, they should expect to be top six. By the time the season starts, expect Pompey to be a complete squad and aiming to finally return to the Championship.