Andy Cullen warns of dangers activating club options to keep Portsmouth out-of-contract eight

Pompey possess options on almost two-thirds of their out-of-contract squad next summer.

Tuesday, 30th November 2021, 4:55 am

Yet Andy Cullen has warned of the pitfalls of activating such clauses.

Publicly it is known that eight of the 13 players whose deals expire at the season’s end have club options.

Crucially, this includes leading scorer Marcus Harness, with Cullen previously insisting the club would be doing all they can to keep him.

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Others consist of John Marquis, Reeco Hackett, Michael Jacobs, Callum Johnson, Jay Mingi, and Louis Thompson.

In addition, there’s Jayden Reid, who has yet to feature after sustaining cruciate knee ligament damage last pre-season.

For Cullen, though, there can be drawbacks to club options in a situation which isn’t ‘black and white’.

He told The News: ‘With options, I just keep a dialogue with the agents over what our thoughts are and what you are doing.

Louis Thompson is among eight out-of-contract players which Pompey have a club option on. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImages

‘Options are difficult to negotiate sometimes. They do come with strings attached as well, so you have to be very careful with what you are doing.

‘An option is exactly that, if the player has really caught the eye then you have a degree of protection in terms of what you want to do.

‘Some options might be triggered on certain events, other options will be 100 per cent in the club’s favour – and those options may well have implications in terms of the player’s remuneration as well.

‘So, if the option is exercised, it doesn’t necessarily mean he is on those same terms, every situation is different.

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‘Craig MacGillivray is before my time here, but you have to weigh all the different factors in terms of what that means.

‘You may have an option on a player and, instead of exercising that option, you negotiate a new deal over a longer term.

‘My experience is that every case is individual and it would be wrong to say that we are going to do it on this particular day until we speak to each individual player.

‘There is no black and white to it.’

Others out of contract next summer are Ellis Harrison, Paul Downing, Sean Raggett, Lee Brown and Shaun Williams.

The Blues have never publicly stated they possess club options on the five.

Cullen added: ‘Ultimately, you give the manager the parameters in which he can work and it’s up to him to identify the players he wants and the best fit in terms of where he wants to take the club forward and where he can improve.

‘It’s not only where you can add players to improve, it’s what you’ve got with your current squad, such as how you improve them.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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