Portsmouth ties held up Jamal Lowe deal, admits Wigan Athletic boss

Paul Cook believes Wigan Athletic's long-winded pursuit of Portsmouth forward Jamal Lowe was hampered by his ties with the Fratton Park outfit.

Friday, 2nd August 2019, 2:17 pm
Jamal Lowe

Latics finally got their man on Thursday, completing a deal believed to be in the region of £2.25million for a player then-Pompey boss Cook plucked from non-league football in January 2017.

Cook moved to Wigan six months later and, as he was leading his new side to, and keeping them in, the Championship, Lowe was cementing a reputation for being one of the best players in League One.

That led to Cook placing him at the top of his wish-list this summer - although the deal took months to get over the line.

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And the Wigan boss reckons that was partly due to his part in the proceedings.

"Negotiations can be tough for any club - but especially when it involves a manager who's previously managed another club," he told the Wigan Post.

"And looking at the way I left Portsmouth, I don't think that helped Jamal coming to Wigan.

"It shouldn't really play a part, but I felt in this case it did - which is sad.

"But common sense must prevail in the end.

"Portsmouth obviously wanted to sell, Wigan obviously wanted to buy, and he obviously wanted to come.

"When all three parties are in agreement, there's no reason not to get a deal done."

While some Pompey fans still haven't forgiven Cook for moving to Wigan two summers ago, Cook - and assistant boss Leam Richardson - has nothing but happy memories of his former club.

"As far as we're concerned, we want Portsmouth to do well, and we look for their result on a Saturday," he said.

"Unfortunately, you don't feel that would probably be reciprocated the other way.

"And it shouldn't be like that - managers come and go the same as players come and go."

Having got his man, Cook feels the 25-year-old has everything in his locker to be a star in the second tier.

"Jamal's a player I've obviously worked with, and our fans will enjoy him a lot," the Latics boss added.

"He's a very good young player, a polite young man, who works very hard and enjoys his football.

"He also brings a goal threat, and maybe one of the criticisms last year was we didn't carry enough of a goal threat.

"He scored 17 goals last season for Portsmouth, without taking free-kicks or penalties, which is a really good number."

Cook also recalled the process that saw Lowe arrive at Portsmouth from non-league Hampton and Richmond Borough.

"We brought Jamal in on trial and signed him after one training session," Cook added.

"It was apparent after one training session that football wasn't a problem for Jamal!

"The football is his friend - he's a good player, he's a natural athlete, he can run.

"And to be fair to him, he's overcome every single hurdle that's been put in his way.

"The Championship is his next hurdle and - if he can overcome that, and has the success we expect of him - the likelihood is he could potentially move on again.

"And that can only be to the benefit of Wigan Athletic - on and off the pitch."