The key contract priority Portsmouth may have to pay Championship money to keep
Tom Naylor’s future has to be Kenny Jackett’s number one contract priority.
And the Pompey captain has the quality to be playing Championship football next season - regardless of whether his team gain promotion.
That’s the view of Blues writer, Will Rooney, in the latest edition of Pompey Talk, which you can download HERE.
Naylor is one of 11 players out of contract this summer with there appearing to be a player shake-up on the horizon.
But Rooney feels the 29-year-old has shown this term why Pompey should be pulling out all the stops to tie him down, in a week in which the wage cap was scrapped.
He said: ‘The first one you have to address is Tom Naylor, your captain.
‘Tom Naylor for me is the one you have to get sorted.
‘He’s having the season of his career at Pompey. Absolutely superb.
‘He’s not only been the policing force in the middle but his distribution has got so much better and he’s added goals to his game.
‘He’s your captain and absolutely the player of the season so far.
‘You’ve got to get your captain and leader sorted.
‘The thing is Tom Naylor will be expecting, and rightly so, the biggest contract of his career.
‘He’s captain and 30 years’ old, so is probably thinking he’s got one big deal left, before maybe going on the decline wage wise.’
Rooney believes Naylor’s excellent form will make him an attractive proposition to Championship sides as a free agent.
And that means Pompey would have to stump up some decent money to keep him at PO4 next term.
He said: ‘Tom could easily go to a Championship club. Easily.
‘Whether that’s a lower club where he’s a regular or a little bit higher where he may not play as regularly.
‘But make no bones about it, Tom could earn a Championship wage if he wanted to - and Pompey may have to match that to get him to stay.
‘Of course they could match that and If they go up he’ll want another crack at the Championship.
‘If they don’t he’s a northern lad and hasn’t bought anywhere down here, as far as I’m aware he’s still living with Andy Cannon, so maybe he may look to get a bit further up north.
‘Would anyone blame Tom for leaving then?
‘No, he’s been a great servant. It would be you come down for promotion, it hasn't worked out, a shake of the hand and best of luck in the Championship.’
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