How Peterborough almost pulled plug on Sammie Szmodics deal amid Portsmouth's interest

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission on items purchased through this article, but that does not affect our editorial judgement.

Peterborough almost 'pulled the plug' the night before beating Pompey to the signing of Sammie Szmodics.

Posh chairman Darragh MacAnthony admitted prising the attacking midfielder to London Road was the 'toughest deal' he's ever negotiated.

The Blues pursued a move to Szmodics earlier in the transfer window when it was clear he was surplus to requirements at Bristol City.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

And despite being ahead in the race for the ex-Colchester man at one stage, he instead completed a £1m-plus switch to League One rivals Peterborough - the club he spent the second half of last season on loan at.

Speaking on his The Hard Truth Podcast, MacAnthony admitted he was close to walking away from the deal, which may have seen Szmodics instead move to the south coast.

He said: ‘I kept in touch with my Bristol contacts in pre-season and I don’t mind admitting I was pleased when Sammie didn’t appear to be playing much in their main team.

‘I then got wind that their manager had told him he wouldn’t be playing much for them so I contacted his club and got permission to speak to him.

‘Sammie is one of those players who just wants to play.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Sammie Szmodics. Picture: Julian Finney/Getty ImagesSammie Szmodics. Picture: Julian Finney/Getty Images
Sammie Szmodics. Picture: Julian Finney/Getty Images

‘We didn’t want to loan him again as we felt he would be an asset for us.

‘The problem there was he was on hefty Championship wages and City understandably wanted to make a profit on him.

‘I had to then go into overdrive and get creative on the numbers. I had to agree a deal with the player and his agent and with City and it became the toughest deal I’d ever done.

‘I was close to pulling out on the night before we signed Sammie. I’d gone as far as I could.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

‘I’d lost the will to live with the deal, but just as I was typing out my e-mail saying ‘”thanks but no thanks and good luck for the season” City came on to me and said everything was agreed, we could conduct a medical and sign him so happy days.

‘Another club in League One had a bid accepted, but I was always confident Sammie would choose us.’

There has been some questions how Peterborough are paying Szmodics’ high wages following the implementation of a £2.5m salary cap in League One.

However, MacAnthony says the Posh are spreading the 24-year-old’s wages over their next four transfer budgets to ensure they don't break the rules.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Irishman added: ‘Massive kudos to my partners because the deal wasn’t cheap. We’ve managed to spread it over four transfer budgets which helps with the salary cap.

‘Sammie is not on much more than than the others. Everyone in the squad has financial incentives to succeed. We have a good bonus payment structure.

‘All the players want to play in the Championship and they all wanted Sammie to come back. as he will help us all get back there.’