Danny Cowley explains Portsmouth's position on the futures of Ben Close and Craig MacGillivray

Pompey have offered Ben Close a new two-year deal.

By Mark McMahon
Monday, 17th May 2021, 5:23 pm

That’s despite the Blues not being in the position to take up an option of an extra season on his contract, with the midfielder’s current deal set to expire in June.

Manager Danny Cowley told The News that any uptake of a pre-agreed contract normally includes an increase in the player’s salary.

But with Pompey losing £700,000 per month over the past year because of coronavirus, it wasn’t a route the Fratton Park outfit were financially prepared to go down.

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As a result, a new two-year deal on reduced terms has been offered to the 24-year-old, who was a regular for Cowley following his March arrival.

No agreement has been reached, with talks continuing. But the Blues head coach is hoping the academy graduate will opt to extend his PO4 career.

A similar scenario exists with goalkeeper Craig MacGilivray.

Ben Close

Cowley said: ‘Ben and Craig both have options in their contracts.

‘Now, we weren't in the position to take those options up.

‘We have re-engaged in conversations, we would like to keep them at the club if financially viable and financially possible.

‘But what we all have to remember, I think, is that we've just lived through a pandemic.

‘This football club hasn't had regular income since March 2020.

‘I think we owe a huge debt of gratitude to Michael (Eisner) and the family because they've managed to navigate us through this really difficult period and come out of it debt free. I don't think there's many football clubs in the country that are in the position we're in.

‘We're very, very fortunate for that. But, naturally, the market value for players has changed. It’s changed dramatically and the financial landscape for a lot of League One and Two clubs, and also Championship clubs is very, very different and there's a consequence in terms of market values of players and wages they earn.’

Cowley added: ‘When they're club options, for the player to agree a club option in the first place and for the club to hold the rights over the option, then normally that means that there’s going to be quite a big increase in the player's wage.

‘So if the club want to take up the option, they have to give the player an increase in their salary.

‘But while they were good deals pre-pandemic, they don't look good business deals post-pandemic.

‘It is what it is. What we have to do is make really intelligent decisions moving forward and that is what we've tried to do.

‘Ben, there's a two-year contract that we've offered to him. We would really like to keep him but we have to look at the financial aspect, we have to look at the business aspect and try to make some intelligent decisions.’