Proactive Portsmouth acting in best interests like quartet amid crucial summer transfer window
Mark Catlin's not taken umbrage with Pompey's out-of-contract quartet exploring their options. Far from it.
The outgoing chief executive fully respects deals have been fulfilled and it's those players' prerogative to shop around as they seek their next moves.
The door remains ajar for Jack Whatmough, Tom Naylor, Ben Close and Ryan Williams to remain at Fratton Park should they wish.
All have been offered fresh terms by Danny Cowley, having been key players since he took over the driving seat in March.
Clearly, they have other options elsewhere, with Whatmough being eyed by Luton and Naylor reportedly able to return to Mansfield, and are weighing up what’s best.
However, should the foursome make up their minds and decide they want to stay, they may find their berths have already been filled.
And, in truth, they could scarcely grumble.
Just like the quartet are acting in their best interests, so are Pompey by already pursuing alternatives.
The Blues are ensuring they’re being proactive and not sitting on their hands in a summer window where recruitment has to be near-perfect ahead of a renewed League One promotion push.
Quite frankly, it would be folly if Pompey were doing anything less.
This is the time when, as we can see throughout the Football League, transfers are generally dormant.
Since the end of the regular campaign, only three clubs – Plymouth, Shrewsbury and Accrington – have made one signing apiece.
Instead, this is a period of negotiation, when clubs are trying to coax recruits and persuade why it should be them the player joins.
And the ilk of fresh faces Pompey will covet are likely to have other suitors.
The Blues will be competing with League One rivals aplenty in the transfer market, especially when you factor in that Ipswich are also having an overhaul and Sunderland are likely to do the same.
Already we've seen the trio of third-tier heavyweights linked to similar players, such as Guy Melamed and Clark Robertson.
If Pompey were caught snoozing, waiting around for Whatmough and Co. to make decisions, it’d allowed promotion foes to gain an upper hand.
Instead, the Blues are ensuring they’re not left feeding off scraps and forced to lower expectations should the quartet depart.