Portsmouth to replace squad with free transfers
Portsmouth administrator Andrew Andronikou has told Soccernet that the club will be on the lookout for a completely new team based on free transfers this summer.
Following the news that the Premier League has granted Pompey permission to sell players before the window reopens this summer, Andronikou has revealed that the entire squad is now available to interested parties, with around ten expected to be sold and several more to leave at the end of their contracts.
The club hope to raise almost £30 million in player sales as well as drastically cutting the "monstrous" wage bill before bringing in a deluge of free transfer players in the summer.
Andronikou told Soccernet: "The major assets of this football club are the supporters who pay to watch their team, and then comes the players. My job is to maximise both.
"First of all, I must reassure the supporters that we will start next season with a completely new team, one that we believe will be able to compete, but most importantly we will have secured the future of the club for next season and the season after that, at least.
"We have got to be clever in the way we maximise the value of the club's greatest asset: the players themselves. We need to sell between eight and ten of our first-team squad. We currently have a first team squad of 28, we have 40 players at this club.
"We will have as many again who will be coming to the end of their contract, and we will be letting them go. The reason is that the game as a whole will be shedding hundreds if not thousands of players this summer, and we can pick up some top talent on free transfers.
"It is not just realising a capital gain from the sale of players but we will also be reducing our overheads - we will be making big inroads into reducing a monstrous wage bill.
"The object is to raise between £20 million and £30 million in player sales, and we know we have ten players who will attract clubs and are already attracting clubs.
"We cannot sell to our Premier League rivals, of course, but with the Premier League giving us the concession to sell outside of the transfer window, we can sell players now and keep them.
"However, there are also some markets whose windows are open, such as Russia and the Middle East, and we are already negotiating to sell one player to the Middle East, although not for a great deal of money."