Ipswich Town striker Brett Pitman in talks with Portsmouth over a free transfer switch
- Credit: Archant
Ipswich Town striker Brett Pitman is in discussion with Portsmouth about a free transfer switch.
The 29-year-old still has a year left on his deal at Portman Road, but it’s understood that Mick McCarthy is willing to let one of the club’s higher earners go for nothing in order to free up some funds for further additions.
Pitman – who has been a Championship player for five of the last six seasons – was initially not keen on dropping down a division, but could be persuaded to join newly-promoted Pompey.
The Jersey-born front man, who spent seven years with AFC Bournemouth, would be happy to move his family back to the south coast. And he’ll be impressed by the fact that the resurgent club, just promoted from League Two, have already sold more than 13,000 season tickets.
It’s now a case of whether a contract can be agreed, with other clubs still understood to be interested.
Pitman arrived at Town on a free transfer from AFC Bournemouth in June 2015, along with loan winger Ryan Fraser, when Tyrone Mings joined the Cherries in an £8.1m deal.
He finished his debut campaign as the Blues’ top-scorer, scoring 11 goals in 28 starts and 19 substitute appearances, but then netted just four times in a reduced 14 starts and nine sub displays during 2016/17.
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Mick McCarthy admitted he needed to majorly freshen up his squad following last season’s dismal 16th-place Championship finish and has set about making several changes this summer.
Christophe Berra, Jonathan Douglas, Leon Best, Giles Coke and Paul Digby have all been released, striker Kieffer Moore has joined Rotherham on a season-long loan, while right-back Josh Emmanuel is set to make the same switch. McCarthy has also confirmed that midfielder Kevin Bru is transfer-listed.
Town have already signed striker Joe Garner (Rangers, £750k), midfielders Emyr Huws (Cardiff, £1m), Tom Adeyemi (Cardiff, free), winger Bersant Celina (Man City, loan) and defender Jordan Spence (free agent) this summer.
It’s such a shame that it’s not worked out for Pitman at Portman Road. He is, undoubtedly, the club’s best finisher – McCarthy has said as much himself – but Town have just not proved a good fit for him.
In his debut campaign he grew irritated at the ‘super sub’ tag following late winners against Leeds and Reading. Regular football was the very reason he took the bold decision to leave his beloved Cherries following their promotion to the Premier League.
Then, in the season just gone, he was asked to fulfil a role that is simply not his game. Following Daryl Murphy’s departure to Newcastle, Pitman was left isolated and battling for long balls. He did it gamely, but increasingly cut a frustrated figure.
At times he must have felt he was playing a completely different sport to one he was involved in at free-flowing Bournemouth.
A parting of ways is probably best for both parties at this juncture. Being a big fish at a fanatical club like Portsmouth is probably a good fit for Pitman. Town now need to use the money saved on his wages to land the physical target man option the squad currently lacks.