Column: Pompey to test Chesterfield resolve on O'Shea?
Everyone has a price and Portsmouth appear keen to determine what Chesterfield's is.
Former Proact boss Paul Cook wants a reunion with Jay O’Shea, but media at both ends of the story report that Pompey have had two bids for the Irishman rejected.
It was Cook who brought O’Shea to Chesterfield in 2013 and the attacking midfielder was part of the side who won promotion to League One as champions a year later.
You can understand why Cook would want to bring in someone with a League Two title on their CV, having lost out in the play-offs this season.
He knows what O’Shea can do.
The 27-year-old can be a match winner at League One level – his second half performance at home to Port Vale inspired a stirring fightback in one of the season’s most memorable wins.
You would expect him to do very well again in League Two.
He’s capable of producing moments of magic, like his wonderstrike in the draw against Blackpool and his shimmy that helped set up Dan Gardner for the final Spireites goal of the season.
And he’s the man defender Sam Hird described as Chesterfield’s ‘most creative’ player.
But are the reasons for Cook’s interest also weighty enough to inspire the Spireites to fend off bids and hold onto the player?
No one wants to be labelled a selling club because it comes with the unwanted question mark over your ambition and has a stigma with supporters – but similarly Chesterfield have to work within their means and player sales bring in some much needed revenue.
Sam Morsy, Armand Gnanduillet, Eoin Doyle, Sam Clucas, Gary Roberts and Tendayi Darikwa have all been shipped on in the past 18 months.
You don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.
Chris Turner has told the Press Association that Chesterfield don’t want to sell him.
Of course that could be media bluster in an attempt to bump up the asking price.
He insists it will come down to the manager’s decision, with Danny Wilson due to weigh in on the subject this week on his return from holiday.
Wilson’s summer recruitment policy thus far has been shrewd and frugal, picking up two free agents from non-league clubs.
The sale of O’Shea might finance a few more bargain additions, or make room for a star like Lee Novak.
Wilson told the press repeatedly last season he was constantly monitoring who was available so it’s highly unlikely the Chesterfield boss doesn’t have replacements in mind for players like O’Shea, just in case.
If he does tell the CEO that O’Shea must stay, the club’s resolve will be tested by any further Pompey bids.
And there’s a variable that the club cannot control – O’Shea’s personal feelings.
Turner has already spoken to the press about the possibility of players becoming unsettled when they learn what they could earn elsewhere.
That too might put to the test the club’s determination to keep him.