Opinion: Why Portsmouth hopes of transfer window move for Peterborough's Jonson Clarke-Harris is wishful thinking rather than reality
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Twenty-seven league goals for a side that finished sixth this term and 31 efforts netted the last time the Posh were in the third tier in 2021-22 – the striker is a goal machine at this level.
However, just a fraction of a glance should be enough to dampen these dreams and for reality to quickly kick in.
Indeed, hopes of a Pompey move for the division’s top scorer should be considered nothing other than fanciful. The result of an over-active imagination. It’s not going to happen.
In fairness, the number suggesting such a move isn’t huge. But there’s enough supporters out there who believe it’s something the Blues should at least explore if they are serious about getting out of this division.
You can understand that sentiment. The Fratton faithful’s patience is being tested every year, month, day the club remains in League One. And you get the impression the owners might finally be on the same wavelength as the fans given recent social media posts by chairman Michael Eisner.
That’s been backed by recent welcoming comments from both head coach John Mousinho and chief executive Andy Cullen that next term’s budget will be increased in order to put Pompey back among the serious promotion challengers.
But will it be enough to lure the likes of Clarke-Harris to Fratton Park? That’s doubtful for a whole host of reasons.
Even if the Blues did somehow manage to cobble together terms that the soon-to-be 29-year-old would consider worthy of his talent, they would most likely only get them into the negotiating room, where the real dialogue would then begin.
Pompey would no doubt need to see off stiff competition from the Championship – a level that the striker would probably see as his natural fit.
Meanwhile, there’s always going to be higher-spending League One clubs that the Blues have to compete with for signings, irrespective of any potential loosening of the Fratton Park purse strings. And who’s to say potential lucrative offers from Scotland – Rangers were linked with Clarke-Harris in January – or even League Two’s ever-growing list of hungry, wealthy clubs might not tempt the striker?
Then, of course, there’s a fee to be paid to Peterborough. Yes, they’re making their top scorer available for transfer. However, they’ll have an asking price and you can guarantee it’s not going to be cheap.
There was talk of a £5m price tag when Clarke-Harris was being linked with Rangers, Sunderland and Watford in January. It’s a fee that’s more than likely over-inflated. But then again, there’s a chance it’s not. We all know Posh duo Barry Fry and Darragh MacAnthony are no mugs when it comes to this sort of thing,
Regardless, there’s no way Pompey will want to stump up that sort of money, whatever it is!
All these external factors need to be taken into consideration. Meanwhile, there’s internal factors at play, too.
Do Pompey need Clarke-Harris when they have 24-goal Colby Bishop on their books? Would he fit into their system? Could he play up front with Bishop? Is he worth breaking the pay structure currently in place at Fratton Park? And would the Blues be prepared to risk dressing-room harmony if they did have one player’s wages dwarf the rest?
The answer to these types of questions remains no – even if a rival club comes in with a mouth-watering bid for Bishop this summer.
And, all things considered, these are the main reasons why calls for Pompey to make a move for Clarke-Harris will remain wishful thinking rather than actuality.