Portsmouth must complete a deal to sign winger Josh Sims on a free transfer next month as he closes in on an exit from Southampton.
According to The News, Portsmouth are eyeing up a potential swoop to sign Sims from local rivals Southampton this summer. Sims is out of contract at the end of the month and Portsmouth are looking into the possibility of landing him on a free transfer.
The report claims that Danny Cowley has personally identified Sims as a transfer target but that his club will face competition from a number of competitors. There is said to be interest from other clubs for Sims to consider, although no specific teams are mentioned aside from Portsmouth.
Back in 2018, at-the-time Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino praised Sims for being “dangerous” and creating chances in a Premier League match against Stoke. He told Southampton’s official website:
“I think he did well with his pace and he was a problem for them.
“There were some movements that showed a lack of connection, because he hasn’t played too much and there are new teammates, a new manager and new movements, but I think he was always dangerous and created some chances.”
Portsmouth need to get this deal done to bolster Cowley’s squad this summer. Although the fact Sims is a Southampton player could unsettle a few Pompey fans, it is worth mentioning that the report states the switch does not bother him in terms of the rivalry between the two clubs.
Therefore, Sims is showing no loyalty to Southampton in regards to the local derby and Pompey fans should encourage that mindset, as it shows he is happy to sign for the club, despite the animosity between the two sides.
Sims produced three goals and eight assists whilst on loan at Fleetwood and particularly impressed when starting out on the left. In 13 starts as a left winger, Sims provided one goal and three assists and averaged a superb WhoScored rating of 7.01. For context, Ronan Curtis is the only Portsmouth attacker who averaged a higher rating than that.
This suggests that Sims has the quality to be a good addition to Cowley’s team and that he has the ability to compete with the likes of Curtis and Marcus Harness for a starting spot in the team.
The £18k-per-week dynamo does not shrug off the defensive side of his game either. Whilst he averaged 2.4 dribbles and key passes completed per game, he also made 2.5 tackles and interceptions per game in League One for Fleetwood.
Marcus Harness (2.1) and Ronan Curtis (1.9) fell just shy of Sims on the defensive side of the game throughout the campaign, showing that Sims could be a useful asset for both his attacking and defensive skills at Fratton Park.
Obviously, it’s highly unlikely that Pompey can afford to pay him the salary he’s on now, but Cowley and the club’s recruitment team must do all they can to ensure they get Sims to sign on the dotted line.