If there was even a small percentage of Pompey fans who didn’t feel an experienced centre-midfielder would be top of Kenny Jackett’s shopping list this summer, then surely their opinions have already been swayed.
Goalkeeper Craig MacGillivray has become the third arrival at Fratton Park in this transfer window, following both Ronan Curtis and Louis Dennis through the Fratton Park door.
And the early business suggests Jackett is not just prioritising a player to bolster his engine room, but is protecting his budget to ensure he can make a marquee signing.
The diagnosis behind Pompey’s failure to make the play-offs last season was their dearth of nous and know-how in the middle of the park from the turn of the year.
Long-term injuries to Danny Rose and Stuart O’Keefe left the Blues short centrally, with Jackett failing to identify a suitable replacement in January.
Granted, Ben Close and Adam May both stepped up, but the fledgling talents missed an experienced head alongside them.
To date, the Pompey boss hasn’t dipped into his playing budget, which sits just north of £3m, too much.
Curtis’ switch from Derry involved a transfer fee in excess of £100,000, but his wages likely aren’t too high.
Dennis and MacGillivray have arrived on free transfers.
Meanwhile, Lee Brown, who is closing in on a move to PO4 following his release by Bristol Rovers, won’t command a fee either.
With all that in mind, it leads to the conclusion that Jackett is going to bring in a heavy-hitting midfielder to remedy the problems of last term.
Brett Pitman was that high-profile purchase 12 months ago. The signing was regarded as a major coup and that certainly proved the case.
Arriving from Ipswich for an undisclosed fee, the striker scored 25 goals last term.
A prolific goalscorer was what many fans demanded and Jackett delivered emphatically.
Now a top-class centre-midfielder is imperative – and it seems the Blues manager is ready to yet again push the boat out to bring one in.
Wes Hoolahan’s name has been floating around on social media after his release from Norwich.
The News understands the Irishman isn’t on his way to Fratton Park – but another powerful figure from the Championship is the most likely scenario.
– WILL ROONEY
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