Portsmouth fire warning to clubs pursuing Brighton and Stoke target Matt Clarke

Pompey's Matt Clarke
Pompey's Matt Clarke
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Pompey have fired a warning to clubs trying to land Matt Clarke on the cheap.

Chief executive Mark Catlin vowed the Blues will keep their prized assets at Fratton Park, rather than let them leave for less than the going rate.

The Blues are adamant they won’t be lowballed over offers for Clarke, with a host of clubs pursuing the 22-year-old

Premier League Brighton are leading the interest along with Stoke, while a number of Championship sides are also keen.

The Seagulls are Clarke’s preferred destination, however, with a year remaining on his existing deal.

Pompey are relaxed about the fact the defender’s value would be decided via a tribunal if he left in a year’s time.

With Michael Eisner’s Tornante Company at the helm, Catlin believes the club are in a strong position.

He said: ‘There seems to be an assumption certain players will leave the club this summer, and they might well do.

‘As much as there is a fascination to spend, conversely we're under no pressure to sell whatsoever.

‘We are under zero pressure to sell.

‘A player can be in the final year of his contract and we feel we're going to lose X amount by him not being sold or re-signed.

‘Even if he's out of contract or it's going to a tribunal, if we don't feel it's the right deal for the football club now we won't do it. I have to stress that. We’re under zero pressure to sell.

‘If it was right for the club to keep our players and take a hit in a year, we will do it.

‘The onus is on the other clubs to make it tempting and the damage we can do with the money coming in to make it beneficial for our season. That's the only way we'd accept.’

 Catlin stressed Pompey can do business on their terms, with no need to cash in on assets to balance the books.

He highlighted the difference between the necessity to do so - and selling in the best interests of the club.

Catlin added: ‘I get annoyed when I hear people say I heard Mark Catlin say there's no pressure to sell and then we sell a player.

‘Selling that's best for the benefit of the football club is not selling because we're under pressure.

‘It's selling because it's the right thing to do.  We sell on our terms which is beneficial for the club. 

‘Selling under pressure is a panic sale be cause we need the money. We're not in that category. If we sell it's because we want to. That's not selling under pressure.’