Portsmouth boss details Aston Villa and Arsenal starlets on his radar ahead of January window

Danny Cowley has given a ringing endorsement of two of the bright, young hopes he’s keeping tabs on as his January player hunt intensified.

By Jordan Cross
Thursday, 2nd December 2021, 5:39 pm
Updated Friday, 3rd December 2021, 10:19 am
Danny Cowley has watched both Karim Rekik, left, and Cameron Archer, right.

The Blues have undertaken a frenetic period of scouting as their recruitment work continues ahead of the window opening next month.

Cowley watched Aston Villa under-21s face Charlton in the Papa John’s Trophy, where goal machine Cameron Archer was on display.

Archer, who is out of contract next summer, has bagged 10 goals this term in the competition and the Carabao Cup, to mark the 19-year-old as one of the game’s bright, young attacking hopes.

Sign up to our Portsmouth FC newsletter

The game was one of a swathe of fixtures taken in by Pompey’s staff this week in the Papa John’s Trophy, as well as clashes in Scotland and Ireland.

Another of those matches was Arsenal under-21’s penalty shootout win over Ipswich on Wednesday night at Portman Road.

Cowley has previously watched the young Gunners in person at Bournemouth this term, with defender Omar Rekik one of their most promising talents on display on both occasions.

The Pompey boss sees both men as emerging players with big futures.

He said: ‘He (Archer) is going to be a good player.

‘He’s a small, diminutive player who uses his body well and has very good movement with sharp pick-up and acceleration.

Read More

Read More
For the latest Pompey news direct to your inbox sign up for our free newsletter

‘(Carney) Chukwuemeka came on for the first team this week, too.

‘Villa have good players, good attacking players.

‘We watched Arsenal play Ipswich and they played very well.

‘They were 2-0 down and came back to win on penalties.

‘Omar is a centre-half who I watched at Bournemouth a few weeks ago.

‘He’s technically very good with a lovely range of passing and he breaks his lines taking real responsibility on the ball. He looks a talented player.’

A centre-back and striker remain priorities for Pompey next month, with a lack of depth at the back and players in form at the other end of the pitch.

The loan market will be an avenue for Cowley to utilise, although he will likely have to reduce the five loan players he currently has at the club - Miguel Azeez, Gassan Ahadme, George Hirst, Mahlon Romeo and Gavin Bazunu.

Cowley added ‘Where we are as a club, our strategy is to use the loan market to make the team better. That’s your ambition.

‘You need a balanced squad, so it’s young players on the way up and eventually we’re signing young players on the way up.

‘With loans, you’re signing players who will make you better or players, potentially, somewhere along the line you will be able to sing permanently. That’s another good strategy with loan players.

‘The tried and tested ones are really important, too, because if you sign enough who are on the way up and understand the level at 23, 24 or 25, they are worth their weight in gold.’

Designed with Pompey fans in mind

Get unlimited access to all The News’ sports coverage without the need for a full subscription. Play-by-plays of every match, in-depth analysis, live blogs and exclusive interviews starting from just £2 per month; that’s just 50p per week - click HERE to subscribe.