Matt Taylor, who has struggled to command a first-team place with Portsmouth this season, has been told he can leave Fratton Park. However, the club's captain, Sol Campbell, believes it would be "suicidal" if they released any of their fringe first-teamers in next month's transfer window, when Portsmouth will lose four players to the African Nations Cup finals in Ghana.
"Hopefully lessons have been learned from last season when no real money was spent in January," Campbell said. "It would be bad if we let some of the squad go and then no new players came in this time although I can't see that happening."
The club's manager, Harry Redknapp, says he will not stand in Taylor's way if the former Luton player wants to leave and the right offer comes in.
Taylor played a big part in Portsmouth's escape from relegation two seasons ago and scored nine goals from midfield in 2006-07. However, with the arrival of Papa Bouba Diop and Sulley Muntari in the summer, and the emergence of the left-sided Croatia international Niko Kranjcar, Taylor has not made a Premier League start since the 3-1 defeat at Arsenal at the start of September.
"I know how he feels," Redknapp said. "He is a very good player and I want to keep him here but if a big offer comes in I wouldn't stand in his way. Matty is a good lad who trains hard and gives everything, and if he was happy with just being on the bench and playing in the reserves I wouldn't want him here with that attitude anyway."
Reading and Fulham have been linked with the 26-year-old, who can also play left-back and would command a fee of around 4m. However, Campbell said: "We'll lose a few guys for a month or six weeks to the African Nations but we have great people who can fill in, great pros and it won't hit us that much.
"But we will also need a couple of new players, at least, for sure and what we can't afford is to lose a couple of the ones we've got. We have a better quality squad this season and to let some of them go would be suicidal, I think."
Redknapp's dilemma, though, is that midfielders Pedro Mendes, Taylor and Richard Hughes are all unhappy playing bit-parts. Full-backs Lauren and Djimi Traor, bought during last January's transfer window, have been unable to find regular places this season and the 6m summer signing David Nugent has rarely been more than a substitute.
The manager admits: "When the African Cup comes around I'll have a squad of only 14 players capable of playing at Premier League level. That's all."
Redknapp spent around 30m in the summer and launched a recruitment drive for African players even though he knew he would lose them for the Nations Cup. He said: "I may have to look in the lower divisions where I got people like Matty Holmes [for West Ham] and Richard Hughes a few seasons back or maybe get a few on loan."Reuse content