DETAILED: The inside track on Portsmouth transfer state of play ahead of window opening

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The date’s been ringed in the calendars of Pompey fans since the moment the season ended.

The dust had barely settled on a never-to-be-forgotten campaign after the final-day party at Lincoln’s Sincil Bank, when thoughts turned to what comes next in the Championship.

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And the first landmark on the pathway to the curtain coming up on their team’s return to the second tier arrives this Friday.

Yes, it may the European Championships getting underway which will dominating as we head into this weekend, but those with their interests channelled towards club affairs will be fully aware June 14 marks the opening of the summer transfer window.

So how are things shaping up for Pompey, with both anticipation and conviction in the club’s recruitment team high off the back of some pretty outstanding business to date?

There’s been enough noise from the key players in the Blues’ football operation to suggest things are moving diligently, with another busy summer of business ahead. But there’s also a few clues and events which have unfolded to sound a note of caution, for those allowing a confidence in the work of sporting director Rich Hughes to translate into an expectation of quick business.

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Pompey have stated their ideal scenario is to get players into the building sooner rather than later, with a flood of prompt done deals a year ago highlighted as key to last season’s success.

The reality, however, is a repeat just isn’t going to happen this time around.

Twelve months ago an incredible 10 signings were announced in 18 days, as the club’s media department stepped up to the challenge of staying innovative with their unveilings and an online buzz reached a crescendo.

Back then the deals were done before the window opened, with the paperwork stored and then announcements spread out to ensure the feelgood factor continued to rise.

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Now Pompey are stepping up to a very different terrain in the Championship and, as a result, a different level of signings are required for the job in hand. That means the Blues are now going to be vying with some bigger hitters, for the players they feel can make a difference to their current 18-man squad.

To get a context over that challenge you need to look no further than the line-up John Mousinho’s side face in the 2024-25 season - a list including some of this country’s biggest and most established names.

Another factor Pompey have encountered to date, is other clubs being further off the pace than they are when it comes to recruitment clarity.

While it’s been nearly eight weeks since the Blues knew their position after the title was secured, the final Championship retained lists were only confirmed last weekend by Leeds and Cardiff. That, no doubt, led to some frustration when looking to escalate work behind the scenes, while others are still putting their houses in order.

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That’s been reflected in the dearth of deals announced at Championship level - just six - compared to the scores of moves confirmed in League One and League Two.

For Pompey, their targets remain the same and there’s not many, if any, positions which won’t require attention.

Starting at the back, a new keeper is required to challenge Will Norris while it’s clear two additions at right-back are needed, with no one currently contracted there next term.

A central defender will be sought if Ryley Towler gets a development loan to aid his progress, while pace is wanted in the left-back department. Potentially two new central midfielders could arrive, with creativity in the number 10 position under focus.

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It’s out wide where real focus is likely required, after Abu Kamara returned to Norwich and the failures of both Anthony Scully and Gavin Whyte to hit the heights anticipated. That could see three new players arrive in that area of the pitch. Strikers are viewed as low priority, though there is the potential to see a new player brought in there if Christian Saydee is deployed deeper.

So yes a lot of transfer business, if not a complete ‘overhaul’ as Hughes told The News today.

It’s Hughes who provides the reason for optimism among supporters, where 12 months ago nervousness reigned on the eve of transfer business getting underway.

Pompey’s transfer guru would probably say that belief in his work is setting him up for a fall, such is his self-deprecating manner - but that trust is well founded.

And nothing should deter from that conviction in Pompey’s summer business, when there isn’t a flood of done deals from the end of this week.

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