Portsmouth transfer news: What the future has in store for out-of-contract trio Sean Raggett, Michael Jacobs and George Hirst - and what Pompey must do to become serious promotion contenders next season

With Pompey’s play-off hopes looking likely to come up short this term, it’s only natural to starting turning our attentions to next season.

By Mark McMahon and Jordan Cross
Saturday, 16th April 2022, 4:00 pm

The focus will once again be on the Blues’ recruitment drive during the summer, with better quality needed to turn Danny Cowley’s side into serious promotion contenders.

Yet there’s also the important matter of what to do with Pompey’s soon to be out-of-contract players.

The futures of key trio Michael Jacobs, Sean Raggett and George Hirst have been making the headlines in recent days.

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So to help us understand further what we can expect with these three players come the season’s end, we’ve dipped into the expert knowledge of Jordan Cross to find out what could potentially lie ahead.

We’ve also asked Jordan to identify what it will take to turn the Blues from a mid-table team to promotion challengers next season.

Here’s what he had to say...

Q Michael Jacobs has once again been making the headlines following his free-kick against Lincoln and the comments he made about his future immediately after the match. What’s your take on his Blues future?

From left: Sean Raggett, Michael Jacobs and George Hirst

It’s not going to be a popular assessment, but I still don’t see him at Portsmouth.

I know the idea of a pay-as-you-play deal has been mooted.

I can see the idea behind it but is Michael Jacobs going to accept that when I’m sure there will be suitors for him? He’s still got plenty to offer,

‘But the concern would be his fitness record. That has been a worry.

If you’ve got a fit and firing Michael Jacobs in your team, then he’s an asset for anyone at this level, there’s no doubt about it.

For my money, he’s Pompey’s most creative player. I think he’s brilliant and there’s not anyone else like him in the set-up.

It’s always caused some consternation among supporters when I mention it, though, that I just don’t see where he fits in, particularly with Danny Cowley’s game idea.

He’s one of the bigger earners and that money could be freed up to be used elsewhere if he wasn’t around next season.

‘It’s an unpopularist view, I’m afraid, but I just don’t see him at Pompey next season.

Q There’s also been stories about the futures of Sean Raggett and George Hirst in this week’s News. Where do you see both of those players playing their football next season?

There’s probably a better assessment when it comes to Sean Raggett.

My understanding is talks are progressing.

Danny Cowley wouldn’t have wanted him in the Championship, I don’t think.

It’s pretty clear Pompey aren’t going to be there so it probably helps things move along and having him around again in League One, with at least a two-year deal that he’d want.

I think Danny Cowley values the continuity, I think he’s my player of the season – he’s led by example with courageous performances – and I think Danny thinks it would take a lot to get a better player than Sean Raggett on the money Pompey have available on their budget.

So, for that reason, and let’s face it, priorities will probably lie elsewhere in the team, so it makes sense to keep Sean Raggett around moving forward – and I, for one, would certainly be glad about that.

On the issue of Hirst, he’s a big priority.

But when you hear more detail coming out about George Hirst, the only possibility would be a loan next season.

That’s because, when he was brought back from Belgium, Leicester paid a lot of money for him – and I’m talking multi-millions pound for him. That’s my understanding.

So they would want to recoup that and not take a big hit on George – and Pompey don’t have the money to pay the kind of money they were paying for Hirst.

He wouldn’t command that amount now, but Leicester would not want to take a massive hit on that.

I think Pompey’s best hope with Hirst would be to get him back on loan and, fingers crossed, hope his fine form doesn’t attract interest from other suitors at maybe a higher level.

If that were to be the case, then it would be very difficult.

But as Danny Cowley has intimated, Pompey need to be having players like that.

They’re young, aspirational players that fit into their new policy so we hope to see him at Fratton Park again next season.

Q Finally, Pompey look set to finish this season in mid-table with the play-offs looking too far out of reach now. So what will it take to turn this side in serious promotion contenders next term?

Consistency, for one.

Pompey have been a streaky team. They’ve had good runs but you can’t drop the amount of points they’ve dropped and have these winless runs if you want to be a contender.

To get consistency, they’ve been decent defensively – although, they will be losing players from that defensive unit.

But it’s obvious where other improvements need to come from when it comes to Pompey. They need to improve in attacking areas.

They’ve got 10 contracted players at the club but none of them are an out-and-out striker.

That makes Danny Cowley anxious, which he said to us this wee, and Pompey have to recruit well in that area.

If Danny is looking for four, you’d think Aiden O’Brien will be one, George Hirst hopefully would be two – then you need another couple of very quick players.

Pompey don’t have the players at the moment to break the lines and get in behind.

That’s been evident when you see the likes of Ronan Curtis and O’Brien break out.

They don’t have that real athleticism to get behind defences – so that is something that is going to have to be remedied with at least the addition of one or two quick, pacey players in the summer.