Crewe boss' comments on Owen Dale's future may mean bad news for Portsmouth, Sunderland and Ipswich - here's why
Owen Dale has been told a switch to a League One club would be a 'sideways move' amid Pompey's interest.
Ronan Curtis is keen to step up to the Championship after three years at Fratton Park, while Marcus Harness – another valuable commodity – has garnered interest in the past.
Dale registered 12 goals and three assists as Alexandra finished 12th in League One last season.
Along with the Blues, the 22-year-old's exploits have reportedly caught the attention of Championship duo Blackburn and Preston – as well as third-tier rivals Sunderland, Ipswich and Wycombe.
Speaking last month, Crewe boss David Artell was aware of speculation surrounding the former Altrincham loanee's future but insisted no bids had been lodged at that stage.
If Dale is to depart Gresty Road this summer, however, Artell believes he must move to a Championship outfit.
He told Crewe's website: ‘We have received no offers for any of our players. I have been told that there might be and am aware of speculation but the club hasn’t received anything.
‘It is like anything. If they submit a bid and it reaches the valuation of the player then we will take it from there. Until that happens, it is pure speculation.
‘I have heard that Owen (Dale) has been linked to a few clubs. He is a good player and we will see what happens.
‘He has had a good season and has come about because of our investment in his development. He is a great kid and has a great attitude.
‘Is he ready to step up a level? I am not sure yet and I honestly think that he has to look at moving up a league because I think that any move to a League One club would be a sideways move.
‘In my opinion, he still has a way to go and he is contracted here and I am not losing any sleep over where Owen will be next season.’