Portsmouth boss reveals details of Jack Whatmough's exit and 'unbelievable' deal to join Wigan Athletic
Danny Cowley has revealed the ‘unbelievable offer’ Jack Whatmough was given to tempt him away from Pompey.
And the Blues boss outlined his disappointment he couldn’t keep the player he rated as a priority to retain this summer at Fratton Park.
But Cowley stressed he had no issue with either Whatmough departing for League One rivals Wigan, or the fact his club couldn’t find a way to seal an agreement with the club’s longest-serving player.
The Gosport lad last week sealed a two-year agreement at the DW Stadium, ending a 13-year association with the club he emerged at.
Whatmough told The News this week the move was never a financial decision but about the length of contract, with his hometown club not prepared to table more than a one-year agreement.
Pompey were keen for an extension to be linked towards appearances, with the 24-year-old coming back from pioneering surgery to make 38 appearances last season - and only suspensions stopping a greater return.
Whatmough saw that record as clear evidence he was over his injury issues, with Pompey pointing to a lack of case history of players returning from a microfracture operation which saw an artificial membrane placed over the knee.
That led to an eventual impasse and departure to work with former Blues assistant manager Leam Richardson.
Cowley had some sadness at the academy graduate’s exit, but sees the move as one which he had to take with his young family in mind.
He said: ‘We love Jack and his partner Demi worked for the club.
‘They’ve just had another baby which is fantastic news.
‘But it just wasn’t meant to be. We couldn’t make it work.
‘We would desperately have liked to make it work.
‘We tried to put a contract together which would have given triggers if Jack was able to play the games the contract would be extended and lengthened.
‘Jack got an unbelievable offer from another football club, an unbelievable offer in terms of the size of the contract and length of the contract.
‘Jack, as a father and family man, had to make a decision for those reasons.
‘I’m a father and family man. I can be disappointed by that, but I respect his decision, I respect the way he went about that decision and I wish him nothing but absolute success moving forward.
‘I’ve no doubt he’s a top player and I’ve no doubt he’ll be a fantastic signing for Wigan.’
Cowley is continuing with his plans for a Pompey overhaul this summer, with just youngster Liam Vincent the only addition so far.
In that time, Whatmough, Ryan Williams, Tom Naylor and Ben Close have all found clubs in League One after failing to agree new terms at Fratton Park.
There has been some consternation from fans over a lack of transfer activity, but Cowley explained he has no intention of being forced into signings at this stage of the summer.
He added: ‘I’ve always spent a budget and the club’s money as if it was my own.
‘I always spend it like it’s my own.
‘I know I have to get the very best value possible to create the team that I want.
‘I’m fussy and I’m particular. I know what I like and I know what I don’t like.
‘We know what we want and we know what we need. I won’t compromise, not in June.
‘We all know unless you’re one of the top four in this country or top 10 in Europe, you sometimes have to compromise.
‘You have to understand and respect this - but I’m not willing to in June.’
A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron
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