Six defining transfer decisions Danny Cowley will have to make at Portsmouth in the summer

The 2022 summer transfer window is gearing up to be another of change for Pompey.

By Sam Cox
Friday, 25th March 2022, 4:55 am

Shortly after Danny Cowley was handed the long-term reins at the end of last season, he oversaw a major overhaul of playing personnel.

A total of 14 new faces arrived at the club, with 10 senior players going the opposite direction, and the potential for huge transfer activity is there again this year.

But what decisions will the Fratton chief have to make ahead of next term?

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Firstly, he will have to review his goalkeeping situation, with number-one Gavin Bazunu set to return to Manchester City.

Due to the 20-year-old’s glistening performances, it’s unlikely he’ll drop into League One for a third consecutive season, with the view of testing himself in a higher division.

This leaves the club with a decision to make, with Alex Bass set to return from his spell away at Bradford, Ollie Webber’s contract expiring this summer, and 17-year-old Toby Steward’s lack of experience.

The ex-Lincoln boss will either place trust in who he has, or will have to invest in someone who shares the Republic of Ireland international’s ability with his hands and feet.

Pompey boss Danny Cowley

A similar situation he’ll have to navigate is in midfield – although it could be the most straightforward.

Joe Morrell and Ryan Tunnicliffe are both contracted beyond this season, with Pompey also likely to trigger Louis Thompson’s contract extension.

It’s unlikely that 35-year-old Shaun Williams will see his stay extended beyond his current one-year deal – so chances are two need additions in midfield will be needed.

After all, it’s not an area you can afford to be light in.

And with Michael Jacobs’s future remaining uncertain, it possible he might not be around to help fill any midfield gaps – as he has since the turn of the year.

That’s another key decision Cowley has to make.

Jacobs has established himself as a firm fans’ favourite, with this talent hugely admired.

It seems, though, that the Fratton faithful’s admiration for the former Wigan man isn’t exactly matched by the manager.

A freedom to talk to both Ipswich and then Doncaster during the past two windows proves he’s a player Cowley sees as disposable.

Wages might be part of that – but with Jacobs’ influence key to the Blues’ mini-rival after a poor start to the year, the Pompey manager could be set to make an unpopular decision.

Another loanee who is set to return to his parent club is right-back Mahlon Romeo.

The Millwall man has shown why he built a successful Championship career at the Den, before his temporarily arrival on deadline day in August.

And with Callum Johnson clearly not in Cowley’s plans, and not likely to be handed a new contract, Pompey will need to invest in this area – with Kieron Freeman, at present, their only recognised senior right-back.

Staying in defence, there will need to be serious consideration regarding Hayden Carter’s future.

The centre-half is likely to be out of the Blues’ price range with two-years remaining on his Blackburn deal, but could be tempted into another loan in League One.

However, if they pursue a temporary transfer, and miss out on a permanent option who could fill the void, they could be kicking themselves in years to come.

Finally, strikers.

Talk surrounding front men has been common throughout this season, with the Blues often stuttering in front of goal.

As things stand, they don’t have a contracted forward at the club beyond this season, with George Hirst and Tyler Walker’s loan deals ending and Aiden O’Brien’s short-term deal coming to an end.

Cowley has already stated his wish to keep the Leicester and ex-Sunderland strikers at Fratton Park – but the former may prove pricey, due to his prolific run across February and early-March.

Signing a striker who can fire the Fratton side up the league will no doubt be one of the biggest decisions of the summer – as Cowley must field a side with promotion credentials next term.

And a prolific attacker will be crucial in doing that.

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