Portsmouth boss drops big hint over striker signing as he reveals reasons for not sealing Aiden O'Brien deal after ex-Sunderland and Millwall man's Shrewsbury Town move

Danny Cowley believes Pompey went as far as they could with their bid to keep Aiden O’Brien at Fratton Park.

By Jordan Cross
Friday, 1st July 2022, 5:05 pm
Updated Friday, 1st July 2022, 5:06 pm

And the Blues boss has hinted a move didn’t get over the line for the striker because the club chose to move in a different direction with their attacking recruitment.

O’Brien opted to sign for League One rivals Shrewsbury Town in a perceived blow for Pompey, after impressing following his arrival from Sunderland in January.

Cowley admitted Pompey’s loss will be the gain of Steve Cotterill’s side, but there were no hard feelings towards the 28-year-old over not signing the contract tabled for him to stay.

He said: ‘We thought we did (went as far as they could with their offer). I thought we did.

‘I totally respect Aiden and I think he’s a lovely lad. We have nothing but love for Aiden.

‘I have nothing but positivity towards him.

‘He came in with an energy and enthusiasm and there was a connection with supporters.

Aiden O'Brien has signed a two-year deal at Shrewsbury

‘He scored some important goals, impacted the team from the start of games and impacted the team off the bench.

‘It was well documented we offered him a contract at the end of last season.

‘For whatever reason we couldn’t quite make it happen.

‘We know that our loss will very much be Shrewsbury’s gain.’

Pompey now will look elsewhere to bring in the three attacking options Cowley is targeting this summer, with his side currently without an experienced option in that department.

And the Blues boss has dropped a strong hint there are strides being made in that department - and that was an eventual factor in a move for O’Brien not reaching fruition.

Cowley added: ‘I hear that some of our supporters are down on Aiden - and they shouldn’t be.

‘He’s just a really good kid who was well within his rights with his agent to look at different options available to him.

‘It was never about finances with Aiden, it’s just that sometimes the timing doesn’t quite work.

‘The timing was right for us at the beginning of May - it wasn’t quite right at the end of June when he came back to us.

‘There were many reasons for that, there’s a lot of things going on that we can’t communicate for obvious reasons because there’s sensitivity over the things happening.

‘When you are trying to put a forward department together, we’re realistic to know we can probably have three, the three really need to complement each other.

‘The hardest one to find is the unselfish link player and that point of reference. Why? Because there are not that many of them that do that role in this country.’