Portsmouth's dilemma over squad upheaval or fighting to keep target of Millwall, Wigan, Burnley, Leeds and Co
So we’re told that Jamal Lowe wants to leave Pompey this summer.
The report emerging suggesting the man who’s assumed the position of the Blues’ prized asset wants to leave has arrived with an air of inevitability.
With Matt Clarke gone the flying winger is now the man most bankable player among Kenny Jackett’s current squad.
And, let’s face it, talk of interest from a higher level is hardly a new concept when it comes to the player who arrived at Fratton Park in 2017, and quickly wrote himself into Blues folklore with his promotion-sealing exploits at Notts County.
The list of rumoured suitors is long and varied in strength of interest from tenuous to tenacious.
It’s the latter pair who’ve come on strongest, particularly Lions boss Neil Harris with the suggestion last week his club stretched their initial £1.5m offer by another million.
That’s getting near to the £3m figure Pompey deem a fair one for a player who effectively still has two years on his contract.
The talk around Lowe and interested parties has grown throughout his time at Pompey, but intensified to a crescendo in the six weeks since he last publicly spoke in the aftermath of play-off defeat to Sunderland.
It’s worth highlighting the latest report, as yet, hasn’t been confirmed by either player or club, but the new twist would be expressing a desire to leave on his part.
It’s nothing new, of course, and inevitable in the wake of narrowly failing to achieve promotion.
You can go back to Guy Whittingham wanting to try his luck at the highest level after missing out on the top flight by one goal in 1993. And a lot further, in fact.
So that’s the angle from the player’s side, but, of course, it’s the club’s position we’re all interested in. And there’s little doubt Lowe’s exit would be a significant blow to next season’s promotion ambitions.
After going so close last term, the hope was a little fine-tuning would leave Kenny Jackett in a strong position to bridge the gap.
But an exit for Lowe would make it a departure for a third key man from Jackett’s strongest starting XI last season.
That’s with Clarke’s exit preceded by Nathan Thompson failing to agree new terms. Jack Whatmough is sidelined until the new year, too.
Suddenly the tinkering becomes an overhaul, making a mockery of a process sold as a brick-by-brick build. Understandably, Pompey are concerned at that scenario playing out.
The danger is being landed with a disaffected player if Lowe’s denied a chance at a higher level.
That’s likely to earn little sympathy among supporters, though, who will demand he gets his head down and gives his all for their club while they scrimp to save for a season-ticket and battle to pay the bills.
Perhaps the answer could lie in a show of appreciation for Lowe in the shape of improved terms, with the request for another season of total commitment. If that campaign comes up short he could depart with the club’s blessing and thanks from us all for his loyalty.
Yes, football is a fickle business and one mistimed tackle can wreck a club’s asset, a player’s dreams and importantly their livelihood. So no one should be too damning over a footballer wanting to better themselves.
But convincing Lowe to stay now would more than likely be the best business Pompey do this summer.