Portsmouth transfer window Q&A: Neil Allen shares his verdict on Ellis Harrison to Fleetwood, more Fratton Park departures, Kyle Wootton interest and future of Arsenal loanee Miguel Azeez

Ellis Harrison joined Fleetwood last week to free up space in Pompey’s January budget and help get the ball rolling on the recruitment side of things.

By Pepe Lacey
Monday, 10th January 2022, 7:30 pm

Here, Pepe Lacey is joined by our chief sports writer, Neil Allen, to get an update on the Blues’ window so far and what lies ahead.

Q Ellis Harrison has gone to Fleetwood, were you surprised how quickly that deal was done?

Danny Cowley and Andy Cullen were very confident that players would leave this month.

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They need players to leave. Like we say repeatedly, it’s one out, one in.

They were confident somebody would go and this all developed last week when Ellis left the training ground and negotiated at Fleetwood for a few days.

That’s the first domino to fall in this transfer window.

I've got a bit of sympathy for him because, looking at the stats, he appeared more times as a substitute than he started games.

From left: Miguel Azeez, Ellis Harrison, Kyle Wootton and Gassan Ahadme

He missed a lot of games through injury, but he was a better fit in Kenny Jackett’s system than John Marquis – and I don’t get why he (Jackett) signed Marquis other than to make a statement to the rest of the league.

It was an up and down time for him, it didn’t work out and let's not beat around the bush – it didn’t work out!

Twenty goals in two-and-a-half seasons, but he had his injuries, wasn’t given too many starts and was just unfulfilled.

It just didn’t work out unfortunately, not value for money for £425,000 and we will be forever talking about that 2019 summer transfer window for these same reasons. Unfulfilled.

Q There were plenty of good luck messages on Twitter for Harrison, but also plenty of suggestions that he just wasn't good enough - is that a fair assessment?

It just didn’t work out.

He missed more than a quarter of Pompey’s games through injuries, it just didn't work out.

Let’s not forget he struggled at Ipswich before he came to Pompey, too.

This was a chance to reinvigorate his career and it didn’t happen.

I just think you’ve also got to remember that he wasn’t given loads of regular football.

He started more than three league games in a row just once in his whole Pompey career so he was permanently in and out.

Good luck to the guy, he gave his all when he played for Pompey, he picked up a knee injury last season and ploughed on with it which ruled him out until the end of the season.

He put his body on the line, he was full of effort, his finishing wasn’t great but he gave his all for the club.

But it wasn’t good enough,, unfortunately, and both parties will be satisfied that he’s gone to Fleetwood.

Q Can Pompey fans expect Danny Cowley to immediately replace Harrison?

Danny himself says it’s one out, one in so hopefully they can start getting the wheels in motion, with people lined up or in talks.

Hopefully we can see something with Gassan (Ahadme) also leaving imminently.

That will create a loan spot so hopefully we can start seeing new arrivals.

With Gassan it’s a little bit different because he wasn’t on much money whereas Harrison was one of the bigger earners.

Gassan wasn’t on much money so it’s all very well saying let's replace Gassan with somebody else – financially-wise, it’s going to be different.

Hopefully now they’ve got one, nearly two (not including Gassan) they can get some new bodies in the building.

They still need a new striker, a new centre-half as well as other areas of the pitch they need to invest in.

Q Kyle Wootton has been named as a potential replacement. Is he still a prime target or has Cowley anything else up his sleeve?

He’s one of Pompey's targets and Cowley’s been to watch him a few times.

He’s a free transfer at the end of the season but I can’t see Pompey paying money from him now when they can get him on a free in the summer.

They need to find somebody in the meantime. Is that going to be a loan, is it going to be permanent? We’ll have to wait and see.

Wootton’s still on the list and he’s having an excellent season in the National League for Notts County.

Q Miguel Azeez is a player whose name keeps cropping up in terms of a January departure. He started against Exeter on Friday night but didn't exactly convince many that he can hit the heights so many expect from him. What's your thoughts on his situation?

He’s a young lad, stepped up from academy football with Arsenal and he needs time to develop and adjust to men’s football so he needs a bit of patience.

He’s been in and out of the side for a bit but overall he’s not really imposed himself in games and his impact has been minimal.

It’s been disappointing.

But you have to caveat what I just said. He's a young lad adjusting to men's football and it will take time.

So far it’s been so, so from him really.

He’s been given games against sides in cup competitions such as Crystal Palace under-21s, Harrogate, Harrow and Exeter, so he’s been given games against teams that aren’t League One level.

That’s a nice way to ease him in.

However, he still hasn’t done it, he still hasn’t risen yet and we're just waiting for it to click for him.

He has improved, no doubt, but at the moment we’re still drumming our fingers on the table hoping something will happen soon.

It’ll be interesting to see how Danny assesses that in January.

Does he keep him for the rest of the season or does he send him back and use that loan spot for somebody else.?

You speak to Danny Cowley a lot, do you get the feeling he's optimistic about the January transfer window or does he feel he has his work cut out?

He’s been talking about three or four signings and on Friday he was talking about two or three, so I don’t know if he’s adjusted his sights there but he’s still upbeat.

Obviously, they moved Ellis Harrison on fairly quickly in the transfer window, inside the opening week which is encouraging because at the end of the window you really are scrambling to create that space.

He’s created space early on, which is helpful, and Gassan and one other will be going as well soon, so that’ll be three spaces opened up in the window.

That means he’s got three weeks to bring players in rather than running around in a panic on deadline day.

He should be encouraged by that.

We’re forever asking if he’s got money to spend in the window, but it’s something he doesn’t like talking about and something the owners don’t like talking about.

We’ve not quite got to the bottom of that one. but he's hopeful of getting the players in now players have departed.

They (Pompey) are eighth in the league, they’ll be doing exceptionally well if they get in the play-offs, so we’ll see how it develops in the window to see if they can strengthen.

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