Portsmouth Director Reveals Deadline Day Frustration While Setting The Record Straight

Portsmouth are keeping the challengers at arm’s length in the League One promotion race, and Richard Hughes, the club’s Sporting Director has lifted the lid on some transfer deadline day targets that they didn’t quite get across the line.

Jadan Raymond was close to making a loan move from Premier League Crystal Palace to the South Coast, but now they will aim to capture the player in the summer.

The other player that was on their radar was striker Lorent Tolaj. The Aldershot Town forward was on many clubs lists if the rumours were to be believed but in the end, he remains at The Ebb Stadium, and Hughes states that he was not a potential target anyway.

Raymond though, was close to seeing out the remainder of the season at Fratton Park, but no deal could be made and as the window closed Portsmouth had no option but to call it off – for the time being.

This goes against what Hughes is saying publicly, and keeping his cards close to his chest he told The News. “I cannot possibly comment on the name of the player involved, other than it was an attacking player from an under-21 team. Effectively, we couldn’t reach an agreement with his parent club for a transfer, which is frustrating. We tried our best to get a framework of a deal in place, but these things happen.

“It’s disappointing. We were equipped to pull the trigger if everything was right, but we couldn’t strike an agreement so it’s one we have to park away, although we can continue to monitor it for the summer. The conversation had been going on for about a week and probably ended at 8pm on deadline day, but it was all amicable. Sometimes you can’t always reach an agreement so, at that point, we shook hands and moved on.”

Cold water was poured on the talk of Tolaj joining. The in-form striker has scored 20 goals so far and could find himself a home away from the Shots in the summer, in the meantime though, Hughes was adamant that Pompey was not pursuing him.

“We weren’t targeting him, not at all. I’m not really sure where the speculation came from. I don’t know if it’s based on the fact we have been keeping a close eye on Aldershot, obviously Haji Mnoga is there. I also know the assistant manager Richard Dryden really well.

“But it was never a name that was really discussed internally at any recruitment meetings.”

Writer’s View

It is quite refreshing to hear a club come out and set the record straight about potential signings. Especially when they don’t come off in what is a frantic day of activity. Richard Hughes has done well in opening up, even if he wouldn’t fully commit to a name. Portsmouth have righted the ship on the pitch after some patchy results, and have strengthened the squad during January, to maintain their push for promotion.

 

 

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