If Kieron Freeman is to earn a permanent deal at Fratton Park this summer, I can’t help but feel he will be fortunate to do so.
Firstly, Pompey boss Paul Cook would have to consider him the Blues’ long-term option at right-back if he is to shell out money on the Sheffield United defender.
At 24, Freeman has got time on his side – there’s no doubting that – and the fact he has been transfer-listed by the Blades also means a deal could be done.
But his seven-game loan stay last season did not suggest he would be high on Cook’s list of priorities when it came to summer signings – if at all!
And I am betting the Fratton faithful would be fairly underwhelmed, should a deal be struck.
Simply put, Ben Davies – even at 35 – is a more attractive proposition.
He is free, knows the club and indeed his role inside out, and also proved his fitness while keeping his head all the way through the campaign.
While I understand there are hold-ups in his negotiations with the Blues, if it came to signing him again or splashing the cash on a highly-rated though somewhat impetuous youngster yet to impress, I know what I would do.
Well, Freeman lost control on the final day of the League Two campaign with a reckless tackle that ruled him out of the play-offs.
And, sadly for him, it is that abiding memory he leaves Fratton Park with.
A look at his career so far suggests he is a much better player than what he showed on the south coast last term.
But with Academy captain and right-back Calvin Davies handed a professional deal, I would rather bring back his namesake to learn from and save the Freeman money to look to build elsewhere.
For me, he had his chance to shine and didn’t take it.
Football is a ruthless world – you only have to look at Cook’s assessment of forwards Adam McGurk and Kal Naismith to know that.
And it is up that end of the pitch where I would focus my attentions on first – unless Ben Davies signs elsewhere.
– JEFF MARSHMAN