With one game to go in the Premier League for relegated Portsmouth, the short-term future is bleak and full of uncertainty. The club and the fans go into the summer not knowing if there will a Portsmouth Football Club come August, and the beginning of the Coca Cola Championship season. But where does that leave their players?
After an admirable season where players stayed and fought til the very end, going weeks without a pay check but ultimately earning themselves an FA Cup final appearance, the air of uncertainty that looms over Fratton Park and the pits of financial woes means players will be expecting a departure this season.
The mass exodus at the club won’t be a nice sight, but Portsmouth’s financial terror may have introduced some fine young Premier League stars, ready to return with a new club next season.
Reports this week emerged that Aruna Dindane, a striker Pompey loaned from Lens, will be on his way to Blackburn Rovers this summer having already completed a medical. Irish international Marc Wilson is another who has been at the centre of many transfer rumours, with a number of clubs interested in the rising young defensive star.
Hassan Yebda has acquitted himself well during his loan spell from Portuguese side Benfica, so he will be another looking to keep his status as a Premier League player next season.
On most clubs’ transfer lists will be veteran goalkeeper David James, who just missed out on a move away from the club last January. Despite being at the ripe old age of 39, James is still regarded as a quality Premier League goalkeeper and a number of clubs will be keen to sign him up on a short-term deal.
Then there are young stars like Frédéric Piquionne, who spent the season at Fratton Park on loan from Lyon and notched five goals, displaying some great “target man” attributes and a fine ability to hold up the ball. Kevin-Prince Boateng is a midfield live wire who failed to break into the scene while at Spurs, but his impressive season with doomed Pompey will have plenty of clubs keen on signing him up.
As Pompey were doomed for the beginning, it was impossible for the club to plant a foundation of players for the future, relying on loanees and young, available players. But what is their huge loss to the Premier League could be the top tier’s gain in some of the players that have acquitted themselves throughout the season, and earned the right to retain their status for another season.