Plymouth make Mike Cooper admission following ex-Portsmouth loanee Gavin Bazunu’s £15m Southampton move from Manchester City

Last season saw Pompey and Plymouth fans battle it out on social media to decide who had the best goalkeeper in League One.

By Pepe Lacey
Tuesday, 21st June 2022, 1:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 21st June 2022, 4:29 pm

Although unsuspecting highly-rated duo Gavin Bazunu and Mike Cooper were not rivals on the pitch, off it, a Twitter rivalry was brewing among supporters with bragging rights at stake.

Pilgrims fans thought they had secured the upper hand when their No1 was named in the League One team of the season – ahead of the then Blues loanee.

However, just a few weeks later and it seems the Fratton faithful might be credited with knowing best – even though the Republic of Ireland international is no longer the fans' favourite he once was at PO4.

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Indeed, the 20-year-old’s £12m plus add-ons move to Southampton from Manchester City might not necessarily sit well with some of a Pompey persuasion.

But it will have at least helped settle a score as far as Blues fans are concerned – with a little bit of help from Plymouth’s own director of football, of course!

Neil Dewsnip was asked about Cooper following Bazunu’s move to Saints, with the Pilgrims No1 previously linked with a move to Norwich earlier in the close season.

There's an expectation among sections of the Home Park fan base that because the Irishman went for such money to St Mary’s, Cooper would do the same – if Plymouth decided to cash in on the talented 22-year-old shot-stopper.

From left: Gavin Bazunu, Mike Cooper.

Yet, according to Dewsnip, that’s highly unlikely – inadvertently handing the bragging right back to Pompey fans.

Speaking to Plymouth Live, the Pilgrims man said. ‘I'm sure everybody at Plymouth Argyle has noted that (Bazunu’s move), but it's not quite the same circumstances though. We just need to make that clear.

‘First of all, that's Premier League to Premier League, and they have more pennies than we do obviously.

‘Secondly, he (Bazunu) has played international football.

‘He's a bit younger than Michael as well, so it wouldn't be quite the same.

‘Whilst I understand the similarity, they are not going to be identical are they? And, anyway, we don't want to sell him.’

Pompey remain on the lookout for Bazunu’s replacement, with West Brom’s Josh Griffiths and Brighton’s Carl Rushworth understood to be under consideration.

However, the Pilgrims don’t have such problems and Dewsnip reiterated his stance that the Home Park outfit are not preparing for Cooper’s departure.

He added: ‘Every club in the country is a selling club these days. If you have got talented players you would half expect approaches from somewhere.

‘So I wouldn't be too surprised if that happened.

‘Equally, what I would say is there is no agenda from Plymouth Argyle to sell Michael at this stage, and to my knowledge Michael doesn't have an agenda to go anywhere either at this moment in time.’