Cook: Pompey prized asset not for sale

Conor Chaplin. Picture: Joe Pepler
Conor Chaplin. Picture: Joe Pepler
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CONOR CHAPLIN is not for sale.

That is the vow from Paul Cook as clubs continue to covet the popular teenage striker.

There is always interest in your players, I am not going to say there have been no phonecalls

Paul Cook

However, he warned the Blues would be unable to dismiss a ‘ridiculous’ offer for their home-grown talent.

The Fratton faithful are fearful Chaplin could depart during the transfer window, particularly following the arrival of Jamal Lowe.

The five-goal striker’s progress has long been surveyed by a large number of scouts and unquestionably interest remains strong.

Presently he has fallen behind Michael Smith and Noel Hunt for a starting spot, yet continues to be regularly called upon from the bench.

Cook revealed there has been interest for his Pompey players, but declined to shed light on identities.

However, he is determined to keep hold of the highly-prized Chaplin.

He said: ‘There has been interest in our players and you will always expect that for a club like ours with the players we have got.

‘There are no sales, Conor Chaplin is not leaving.

‘If the club were offered an amount of money for Conor that was ridiculous he would leave the club, but we are not looking to sell Conor in any shape or form.

‘There is always interest in your players, I am not going to say there have been no phonecalls.

‘Nowadays phonecalls take place between chief executives. It used to be manager-to-manager but there are that many agents involved to get a deal done is tough.

‘There are always conversations but very little active stuff going on.’

In recent seasons, Jed Wallace departed for Wolves in an £800,000 deal, while last summer Adam Webster was valued at £750,000 in his switch to Ipswich.

As a club currently in League Two, realistically the Blues are aware they will struggle to fend off big offers from clubs higher up the leagues.

In the meantime, Cook is on the hunt for a powerful centre forward.

Although he insisted Pompey would not be pushed into recruiting a player just for appearance sake.

He added: ‘Looking at the criticisms of Portsmouth today, we need one or two players, I agree with supporters.

‘But if you cannot get what you need, I certainly won’t bring somebody in just to satisfy and say “We have signed a player”.

‘I do think there are one or two things we can improve on, if we can get the right player then we will do it – it’s just making sure that right player is available.

‘I have great faith in our squad, so if we didn’t sign a player my opinion on our season wouldn’t change.

‘If we can sign a player it can greatly help us get there quicker, but I believe this group can achieve everything the club asks.’