Mark Catlin: We can't force Christian Burgess to stay at Portsmouth - we've done all we can

Mark Catlin has conceded Christian Burgess’ Pompey future is now ‘out of our hands’.

Sunday, 31st May 2020, 3:11 pm
Updated Sunday, 31st May 2020, 4:25 pm
Mark Catlin believes Pompey have done all they can to convince Christian Burgess to remain at Fratton Park. Picture: Kieran Cleeves
Mark Catlin believes Pompey have done all they can to convince Christian Burgess to remain at Fratton Park. Picture: Kieran Cleeves

Having opened talks with the popular central defender over a new deal in January, both parties have yet to reach agreement.

Burgess has since intimated he wishes to assess his options at the season’s end, when he will be eligible for a free transfer.

Pompey insist they have repeatedly made it clear they wish to keep the 28-year-old, who has made 208 appearances and scored 12 goals for the club.

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Kenny Jackett and Catlin have not yet given up hope of extending Burgess’ five-season Fratton Park stay.

However, the Blues’ chief executive believes nothing more can be done to convince him to remain.

Catlin said: ‘Christian is a slightly different case to our other out-of-contract players and we have been talking since January.

‘It has been going on for quite a number of months and we continue to have dialogue.

‘We’d like him to stay, he knows we would like him to stay, but, as I have always said, you cannot force players at any point to extend or sign a new contract. That is a decision for the player.

‘Both on and off the pitch, you will struggle to find anyone better than Christian. We have made our feelings known to him, but, ultimately, you cannot hold a gun at any player’s head and say “sign this”.

‘The player and his agent must be happy to sign and, to a degree, that is out of our hands now.

‘We have always said we don’t want to discuss individual contracts in public, but it is fair to say we have been talking to Christian for a long while.

‘Ultimately, it is down to a player if he wants to stay or not.’

Burgess has been one of Pompey’s most consistent performers this year, form which has no doubt brought him to the attention of other suitors.

Meanwhile, off the pitch, he has driven the players’ community contribution during the coronavirus crisis.

That selflessness has brought more praise for the ex-Peterborough defender, who arrived on the south coast in the summer of 2015.

And Catlin has empathy for Burgess and the career choices he presently faces.

He added: ‘There will be a number of factors involved in the player’s decision – such as financial, league level, opportunities elsewhere. It’s not that simple.

‘A player’s career is short and it’s only right they should want to potentially maximise their worth when they are at the peak of their career – as is Christian at this moment in time.’

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