How Portsmouth stand and Danny Cowley's to-do list as the transfer window officially opens

The window is officially open for business.

Wednesday, 9th June 2021, 3:06 pm
Updated Wednesday, 9th June 2021, 3:12 pm

Today represents the first day of the transfer window, meaning clubs can step up their plans a gear ahead of the August 31 cut-off date.

It’s going to be a busy few months ahead at Pompey despite things being relatively quiet since the end of the 2020-21 season.

Danny Cowley’s plotting a major squad overhaul and has just 14 players under contract as things stand.

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Danny Cowley, centre, is interested in bringing Joe Morrell, left, and Jayden Stockley to Pompey.

Although youngster Liam Vincent has arrived from Bromley for an undisclosed fee, there’s still plenty of work to be done.

We’ve assessed which positions we can expect arrivals to boost the Blues’ squad.

Goalkeepers

After the departures of Jack Whatmough and Ben Close, Alex Bass is now the longest-serving player at Pompey.

The 23-year-old is also the only shot-stopper on the books. Craig MacGillivray has been allowed to leave after the Blues did not take up the option of an additional 12 months, while Duncan Turnbull and Taylor Seymour were released at the end of their respective deals.

Bass endured a difficult 2020-21 campaign, losing his place as No1 before breaking his leg twice. As a result, it limited him to just six appearances, with one on emergency loan at Southend.

Cowley's been clear when it comes to his goalkeeping plans, admitting he wants two through the door.

The head coach plans to sign someone who can challenge Bass for the No1 jersey.

Pompey also want a younger protagonist to offer support. Like Vincent, he may come from non-league after being released from an academy.

Left-back

The ever-reliable Lee Brown remains under contract for another year.

He will continue to provide leadership in the dressing room and was one of Pompey’s most consistent performers when fit last term.

However, Cowley will want another option to provide competition.

That person will be someone younger than Brown, who turns 31 in August, and maybe more attack-minded.

Pompey were also linked with Huddersfield's Harry Toffolo – someone Cowley's signed twice in his career.

However, dropping back down to League One looks highly unlikely for Toffolo, after the Terriers turned down Premier League interest in January.

Centre-backs

Pompey were handed a blow after Whatmough turned down fresh terms to join Wigan.

And with Rasmus Nicolaisen's loan from FC Midtjylland expiring, it leaves only Paul Downing and Sean Raggett as recognised central defenders.

There even is somewhat uncertainty regarding whether either or both are in Cowley's plans to be regular starters next season.

Downing's spent the majority of his two years on the south coast in the cold, yet was brought back into the fold for the final two games of last term.

It'll be intriguing to see where he stands when fresh faces arrive given Cowley has spoken highly of the ex-Blackburn defender.

As a result of Downing's recall, it meant Raggett was dropped for the final match against Accrington when Whatmough returned from suspension. That would have been tough for the fearless ex-Dover man to take given he’d started every league game previously.

Raggett's a player who thrived under Cowley at Lincoln but there are some question marks whether he's suited to playing out from the back.

Two centre-halves are required to cover injuries and suspensions.

Clark Robertson is someone the Blues are on the trail of after his departure from Rotherham. However, the likes of Ipswich and Aberdeen are also in the race for his signature.

Cowley may also look to utilise the loan market to bring in someone from the Premier League or Championship.

Centre-midfielders

It's well documented that there's not a single engine-room operator tied down ahead of next season.

Certainly, it's an area that needs plenty of attention after the departures of Close, Andy Cannon and Bryn Morris, while captain Tom Naylor's exit is all but officially confirmed.

You'd imagine Cowley will have designs on bringing four fresh faces in to bolster the middle of the park.

Pompey have missed out on Scott Twine to MK Dons, although he wasn't a top priority.

However, it's understood he would prefer to stay in the Championship if he is to depart Luton after he represents Wales at the Euros.

Given the head coach wanted to keep Naylor, he may want to bring in a replacement who can shield the back four and break up play.

Winger

It's a position that Pompey aren't actually too bad.

Although Ryan Williams is heading for the exit door – with a switch to Oxford looking likely – the Blues still have Ronan Curtis, Marcus Harness, Michael Jacobs and Reeco Hackett-Fairchild.

However, Cowley may be planning for life without Curtis, who is hoping to earn a switch to the Championship.

The 24-year-old proved himself as one of the top wingers in League One during his loan at Doncaster last season – especially in the first half of the campaign.

Harness will be looking to finally fulfil his burgeoning potential and find consistency, while Jacobs can provide a real touch of class if he can stay fit after an injury-hit campaign.

Hackett-Fairchild has a big pre-season ahead as he bids to finally prove his worth after playing just once since arriving in January 2020.

Strikers

John Marquis and Ellis Harrison remain under contract for another year and are unlikely to be departing.

Cowley's spoken of how much he rates Marquis on several occasions and is plotting how to get the best out of him.

Many fans have been underwhelmed since his £1m arrival from Doncaster two summers ago.

The head coach covets a target man who can play up alongside Marquis – and Jayden Stockley could be the candidate.

The centre-forward is heading towards a departure at Preston and it's no surprise he's garnered plenty of League One attention.

He’ll cost a substantial fee, though, with reports in Lancashire estimated around £400,000-£500,000.

Harrison's yet to play a game under Cowley due to a knee injury he sustained before the boss' arrival. It'll be interesting to see where the Welshman sits in his plans.

There might also be a temptation to gamble on an under-21 front man with pace who won’t count towards the squad limit, but that’ll depend on budget.