Why Portsmouth would be right to step away from £200,000 Accrington man
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The 23-year-old Accrington ace has been high up the Blues’ list of potential targets ever since John Mousinho and sporting director Rich Hughes began putting their 2023 summer transfer strategy together earlier in the year.
There’s been a desire to get a deal done and bring Leigh back to Fratton Park – but not at the £200,000 valuation Accy have put on the former Bognor man’s talent.
That figure was always going to be a stumbling block. Now it appears the Blues view it bigger than that. An impassable hurdle, in fact.
And, in fairness, you can understand their stance, particularly with Leigh now into the final 12 months of his Wham Stadium contract.
The figure quoted would also make Leigh their biggest outlay during a summer that has seen the club splash the cash on Terry Devlin, Christian Saydee, Anthony Scully and Kusini Yengi – all for price tags significantly lower than the one the ex-Baffins Milton Rovers midfielder is commanding.
Talent-wise, it's a move that would make sense. But, financially, it doesn’t.
With just two years of experience at this level, Leigh has certainly done well to attract the attention he’s been getting this summer.
Twenty goals and seven assists in 78 appearances for an Accrington side that now finds itself in League Two is no mean feat.
But does it warrant such a high fee? I’m not so sure.
Passing into the final third is a key quality of an attacking midfielder and last term in League One, Leigh made just 149 throughout the campaign. This placed him outside the top 30 in the division.
In terms of shots on goal, the Accrington man made just 1.78 per 90 minutes last term, once again ranking him clearly outside the top 30 in the league.
Dribbling is another attribute a successful number 10 must have. Disappointingly, the Portsmouth-born midfielder made an average of 1.37 dribbles per 90 minutes during the 2022-23 campaign, which saw him sit well outside League One’s top 30 performers.
Michael Eisner and the Blues have made it clear they will pay fees for players who will be the difference-makers in a promotion push.
But at £200,000, those sort of stats don’t justify such a massive outlay, that, of course, is still nowhere near the money splashed on Coby Bishop last term, who really did prove value for money!
With further additions also needed to strengthen elsewhere in the squad, it makes sense not to spend the remaining funds or that sort of money on Leigh.
Accrington can play hard ball, but so too must Pompey.