Portsmouth must complete a swoop for “excellent” Millwall utility man Shane Ferguson this summer.
The midfielder has admitted that he will be leaving the club on a free transfer this summer as he is not happy with sitting on the bench on a regular basis. Football Insider claimed earlier this year that Portsmouth were in talks with the 29-year-old over a loan switch to Fratton Park, although it failed to materialise on deadline day.
Ferguson is out of contract at the end of the month and has said that he wants to playing instead of watching on from the bench at Millwall, which is why he has decided to leave the club.
He told London News Online: “It just felt natural (to leave Millwall now). I didn’t play much this season and I want to be playing. I didn’t feel I could do another season of that, it wouldn’t be good for my career at all.
“I had a good chat with the manager, we were both really honest where we were at with it. I’m looking forward to what happens next, I’ve left that to my agent. I’m away on internationals and I’m focused on that, just keeping myself fit. I’ll see what happens in the coming weeks.”
Millwall manager Gary Rowett has lauded the “excellent” Northern Ireland international and commended his work in training despite his lack of involvement on matchdays – the 29-year-old started just two Championship matches last season.
Rowett told London News Online: “Fergie is a great lad. He comes in every day and he trains well. He never gives you an ounce of a problem off the pitch and comes battering your door down.
“I know he wants to play more, he desperately wants to play more. Sometimes you get to the point with a player when they are a full international that you can’t keep them from playing and starting games for a further season.
“I think it is one of those natural ones where Fergie recognises he needs to go and play more regularly and we have to create some space in the squad financially and numbers wise to go and do something different.
“But as a player he has been excellent for me and brilliant around the group.”
Portsmouth manager Danny Cowley would surely love to have Ferguson at Fratton Park. For starters, the deal makes financial sense for Pompey as he is available on a free transfer. This means that the club can avoid negotiating with Millwall over a fee and will only need to worry about the player’s personal demands, rather than the club desperately trying to find the money to pay a seven-figure sum for his services.
Secondly, he has played plenty of football at Championship level and could provide experience for the younger players in the group at Portsmouth. Over the last four seasons with Millwall, Ferguson has played 101 times for Millwall in the second tier – scoring twice and setting up seven goals – whilst being deployed as a left-back and as a left-midfielder.
This shows that he could have the quality to drop down to League One and be a useful player for Cowley, as he has been picked to play more than 100 times across four seasons in a higher division.
The £6,000-per-week dynamo could also strike a chord with Cowley because of his attitude. The quotes from Rowett above suggest that Ferguson is extremely professional and a great character to have in the dressing room. This could be beneficial for when times are tough as Ferguson can make sure that setbacks do not keep him down for long whilst helping his teammates lift their own spirits throughout the season.
This combination of experience, professionalism and the absence of a transfer fee make him an ideal transfer target for Cowley and Portsmouth.