Bristol Rovers, Derby, Charlton and Oxford Utd ‘keep tabs’ on Portsmouth transfer target as ‘deal agreed’

Portsmouth lead the race - but Bristol Rovers have proven they can land the big transfer targets
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Bristol Rovers are ‘keeping’ tabs on Gavin Whyte’s transfer situation amid a proposed move to Portsmouth, according to reports.

The 27-year-old is a free agent, after his contract at Cardiff City was not renewed, and so far Pompey has looked the most likely destination for the Northern Ireland international. John Mousinho has spoken openly about Whyte, having played alongside him at Oxford United, and in May described him as an ‘excellent’ player and that he would be an ‘excellent addition’ to any squad.

In a recent transfer development however, it seems that Whyte’s move to Fratton Park is not a foregone conclusion, and that other teams are interested. According to the Belfast Telegraph, Rovers along with their League One rivals Charlton Athletic, Derby, and Whyte’s former club Oxford United, are all ‘keeping tabs’ on the situation.

He was not involved in Northern Ireland’s EURO 2024 qualifiers earlier this month, and hasn’t played much football for the last 12 months. Whyte was kept at Cardiff for the 2022/23 season, despite falling out of favour under various managers, and was limited to 16 appearances last season, with only four being starts. He was not included in Cardiff’s last 12 match-day squads, and his last appearance was against Leeds United in the FA Cup in January.

Whyte does know how to win a League One title however, having been part of the Hull City team which won the league, back in the 2020/21 season. His career has mainly been spent in the third tier of English football, and to date he has made 93 appearances, with 12 goals and 15 assists. He has been capped 20 times for Northern Ireland, and has scored three goals for his country.

Rovers have already signed one winger this window, with Luke Thomas making the return to the Memorial Stadium, after turning down a new contract offer at Barnsley. Thomas had been a long-term target of Joey Barton, who wanted to re-sign him last summer, but after being given a new lease of life at Oakwell, stayed put for the final year of his contract. The departure of Barnsley’s manager Michael Duff to Swansea City, then allowed Thomas to seek a different opportunity.

He signed a three-year contract with the Gas, and after making his move back to the Mem, said: “It’s time to push on and enjoy more success here.”

Rovers’ boss Joey Barton aded: “We are happy to be reunited with Luke. He tasted promotion with us two seasons ago and we tried to get him back in for last season.

“As it turned out, he had a trip to Wembley and almost got Barnsley up. However, he’s back at Rovers now and will be a key part of our dressing room. The three-year deal reflects how highly we rate his potential and what he could bring to the team.”

In other news, one deal that is in the pipeline, and could be completed shortly is Jevani Brown's proposed move to Bristol Rovers. He was released by Exeter City at the end of the season, and there was an opportunity for him to remain, but instead he is heading to the West Country. Football Insider say Brown has agreed a deal to join Rovers, and Bristol Live report that he is set to be their third signing of the summer.