Peterborough United could bring in as many as 14 new players in the close season.
That was one statement from a ‘periscope’ session hosted by Posh chairman Darragh MacAnthony today (May 11). MacAnthony, who said promotion is a minimum requirement next season, was joined by first-team manager Steve Evans, director of football Barry Fry and co-owners Dr Jason Neale and Stewart ‘Randy’ Thompson at the end of the club hierarchy’s three-day summit meeting in Florida.
Transfer targets, the latest on purchasing the club ground back from Peterborough City Council and off-field plans all received an airing.
But it was the possible arrival of numerous new signings which generated the most comment. It was revealed an interest in Cheltenham striker Mo Eisa ended quickly because of a seven-figure transfer demand, but that the club’s first new player could be revealed soon.
MacAnthony also re-confirmed that prized assets Jack Marriott and Marcus Maddison are not guaranteed to be sold. They will only leave if the club receive suitable offers.
“We’ve had a great few days together,” MacAnthony ehthused. “I’ve never seen a more definite, detailed, exhaustive list of potential new players provided by a manager.
“He has given us four players for every position and provided statistical analysis and video analysis for all of them.
“We know the ones we want and the ones we will go for. It’s not always easy to get your first choice as some don’t want to move for geographical reasons and some have agents who want too much money.
“We had a look at Mo Eisa, but Cheltenham want too much money. We were quoted a seven-figure fee which we think is too much money for a 24 year-old playing in League Two.
“We want to get new players in as quickly as possible. We are already moving and grooving,
“There is no guarantee Jack and Marcus will leave. We don’t need to sell as such, but we have to run the club prudently and there’s a chance we will bring in anywhere between 11 and 14 new players.
“We might replace Jack with as many as three new strikers. One thing we are good at is finding good strikers. Ricky Miller had all the attention last summer when he signed, but we knew Jack was going to be a success.
“We are targetting youthful exuberance as well as experience. We will target players from higher up the league and from lower down, but it will all be character-driven.”
Evans, who will hold open training sessions which can be viewed by members of the public in the summer, confirmed he would be signing a new goalkeeper to provide competition for inexperienced Irishman Conor O’Malley and that his new captain could be one of his new players.
“Barry Fry has the list of targets and we are close to landing the first one,” Evans said. “I reckon about 12 new players could come in which would be the most since Darren Ferguson was here the first time. He signed a lot and it worked out well for him.
“Sometimes talent isn’t enough which is what Posh found last season. Looking in from a distance it looked like Posh had a great squad which is why I complimented the standard when I first got here. I then found out other vital ingrediants were missing which is why I later had a go at the way the squad had been built.
“I’ve put a lot of players on the transfer list and they have no chance of playing next season even if they are still here. Steven Taylor could be the exception to that, but if I get the players I want, he won’t be getting a game either.”
Fry added: “I’m confident I can get most of the players on the manager’s list. The big advantage we have is our recent history of giving players a chance. We are good with players who want to come in and learn. We have been a useful stepping stone for some.
“It’s bound to be the busiest I’ve ever been. I need to work quickly to get players out of the club as well to keep inside the financial fairplay limits.”
Posh are keen not to do all their transfer business before the new League One season rather than in January. Posh will enter a team in an under 23 league next season which will be managed by current first team coach Paul Raynor and a new under 18 manager, whose identity will be revealed next week.
That team will contain those members of the first-team squad who don’t play in League One matches in the same week. Posh video analyst Carl Pope has left the club to join a Championship club.
Posh co-owner Jason Neale revealed he had enjoyed meetings with Peterborough City Council chiefs Gillian Beasley and John Holdich and that negotiations to return the ground to club ownershop had been ‘enthusiastic, co-operative and friendly.’
Once the ground has been purchased Posh have plans to add a swish restaurant/bar and offices for let. The board have already sanctioned the £400K development of artificial pitches at the club’s training ground and the ABAX Stadium
MacAnthony is keen for the stadium purchase to be completed within six months.