Lalkovic nears Pompey arrival

Walsall's Milan Lalkovic, right
Walsall's Milan Lalkovic, right
Stuart O'Keefe. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey midfielder will relish facing former club

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Pompey are set to make Milan Lalkovic their fourth signing of the summer.

Paul Cook has identified the 23-year-old to provide more creative spark for his team in their renewed promotion challenge.

The skilful left-winger is available having turned down a new contract at Walsall.

He made 51 appearances and scored eight goals for the League One club last term as they reached the play-off semi-finals.

However, this summer they have been unable to retain a number of their most impressive performers, including another Pompey target in Jason Demetriou.

Yet while attacking right-back Demetriou has opted to instead move to Southend, Lalkovic is ready to arrive at Fratton Park.

The Chelsea Academy graduate is currently on holiday in Dubai but is understood to have already agreed a Pompey deal.

His arrival is expected to be sealed upon his return, joining Danny Rose, Carl Baker and Matt Clarke as permanent recruits during the close season.

At Walsall, Lalkovic flourished as one of the attacking three in the 4-2-3-1 system, primarily on the left.

That experience in Cook’s favoured formation appeals to Pompey’s boss as he seeks to strengthen his options.

It means Lalkovic will fight it out with the likes of Baker, Kyle Bennett, Gary Roberts, Gareth Evans and Ben Tollitt to feature as part of the attacking three.

In addition, fellow midfielders Kal Naismith and Adam McGurk are on the transfer list having been told their futures lie elsewhere.

Pompey’s players are back for pre-season on Tuesday, June 28 – and Lalkovic is expected to be among them.

He told the Walsall Advertiser: ‘I have a medical next week but I can’t say anything because I have not signed the papers.

‘It’s a bigger club, it’s a step up, maybe not in the league but club-wise it is definitely a step up.

‘I’m going to a club who have an interesting project. I have spoken to their manager and they play a similar style to Walsall which is a big thing.

‘They like to keep the ball and play attacking football.’

Lalkovic previously spent the 2013-14 campaign at the Bescot Stadium on loan from Chelsea, scoring six times in 42 appearances.

The Slovakian under-21 international left Stamford Bridge on a free transfer to join Czech side FK Mlada Boleslav in July 2014.

He lasted only six months before linking up with League One side Barnsley in January 2015, where he made 17 appearances.

The winger was again on the move last summer, arriving at Walsall where he went on to have his most productive season to date and establish himself as a favourite.

Now Lalkovic is poised to secure a move to Pompey to aid their latest attempt at escaping League Two.