The story of how Portsmouth beat Ipswich Town to Luton Town midfielder's signature after dramatic twist in see-saw pursuit

Pompey last night dramatically won the race for Joe Morrell’s signature.

By Jordan Cross
Tuesday, 10th August 2021, 9:15 am

Danny Cowley brilliantly landed his prime midfield target from Luton on another day of drama, following a late twist in the pursuit of the Luton man – and this is how.

Cowley headed off Ipswich boss Paul Cook, who was attempting to hijack the deal and take the 24-year-old to Portman Road.

And a three-year-deal with an option for another 12 months was completed late last night, representing a significant transfer victory for the Blues.

Pompey last night captured the signing of Joe Morrell

Pompey feared they would be blown out of the water by the division’s big spenders, after they joined a group of clubs which is also believed to have included Championship Hull City who were keen on Morrell.

But it was the Welsh international’s relationship with Cowley which was the Blues’ trump card, and played a significant role in turning the tide back in their favour.

Ipswich’s deep finances give them the ability to leave Pompey in their wake when it comes to what they can offer players.

But a deal weighted around full appearances and other add-ons for the former Bristol City man wasn’t as attractive as it first appeared.

Joe Morrell signed for Pompey last night (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)

There was concern from Morrell about how much he would feature at Ipswich, given their level of recruitment this summer and ability to continue in that vein until August 31.

He instead becomes one of Pompey’s top earners, with Cowley making it abundantly clear he will be a central figure in his side’s bid for promotion this term.

It was a see-saw narrative with the Blues head coach confident he had Morrell in the bag on Sunday morning, only for hope to fade as Ipswich made their move.

That was abundantly clear in Cowley’s demeanour yesterday, as he addressed the press ahead of tonight’s Carabao Cup trip to Millwall.

A number of calls were taken during his media briefing at the club’s Roko training base as the pursuit of Morrell ebbed and flowed.

The news then came through last night it was Pompey Morrell was favouring, paving the way for him to again link up with the man he worked under while on loan at Lincoln in the 2019-20 season.

The collapse of Michael Jacobs’ move to Ipswich had no bearing on the Blues being able to complete the move.

The winger looked set to link up with Cook once again after their time together at Wigan, only for the plug to be pulled on the move when Ipswich signed ex-West Brom man Kyle Edwards instead.

The deal for Morell was finally confirmed at 11pm last night as he was parachuted into Fratton Park, with a move for ex-Norwich City midfielder Louis Thompson also in the bag.