Mark Catlin has admitted he is losing hope of retaining Enda Stevens.
And he concedes financially the Blues occupy a ‘different world’ as they attempt to fend off the lure of Sheffield United.
That is just the reality of the situation. It’s sad, but it’s footballMark Catlin
Paul Cook is desperate to keep Stevens in his League One plans following another impressive campaign.
As revealed by The News earlier this week, the left-back is out of contract on June 30 and is the subject of tempting interest from Championship newcomers United.
Pompey cannot match the pay packet offered by the Blades and now expect to lose his services.
It would represent the first departure from the League Two title winners – and a big blow to Cook.
Pompey have discussed a new deal with Stevens’ representatives, but Catlin realises they lag well behind what has been tabled elsewhere.
The Blues’ chief executive said: ‘It is going to be very difficult for us to compete with the figures I am hearing being mentioned for Enda at other clubs.
‘That is just the reality of the situation. It’s sad, but it’s football.
‘I think we’ve done relatively well in the four years since coming out of administration considering this will be the first player that’s willingly left with a value attached to him.
‘We have spoken with Enda, but it’s clear the figures we are talking are in a different world to where he is.
‘I’ve heard the rumours of him signing a three-month deal with us, but no agent would allow that to happen.
‘After all, he could get injured during that time.’
On Saturday, Stevens was crowned The News/Sports Mail’s player of the season.
He has made 99 appearances since joining in the summer of 2015.