POMPEY are continuing talks to keep Jed Wallace.
But chief executive Mark Catlin admitted he can’t rule out a departure for the Blues’ prized asset this month.
Boss Richie Barker has held discussions with Wallace over his future, with his existing agreement coming to a close in the summer.
The 19-year-old has so far turned down all contract offers made to him by the club.
Catlin isn’t giving up, though. But is realistic about what could happen in the January transfer window if a significant bid is made.
He said: ‘I’m speaking to Jed. I’m constantly speaking to him, actually – and I believe Richie has spoken to him.
‘Again, though, we can’t put a gun to his head.
‘I try not to comment on what happens on the pitch, but he is performing.
‘He’s been unlucky, too. If he’d scored the ones which have hit the bar there would probably be Premier League clubs ringing me up.
‘But we are not putting a gun to his head and we have made him sensible offers.
‘He and his advisors have not accepted that but we will keep doing what we can.
‘I don’t think you can say he will be here at the end of this month, because it’s such a variable.
‘Someone could come in with an offer we can’t turn down and is of great long-term benefit to the club.
‘I don’t think you could ever discount that.
‘He’s a great lad and I would love him to sign, the fans would love him sign and I know the manager would love him to sign.
‘So we’ll work tirelessly to make that happen. But if it does get to a point where a big offer comes in and/or Jed wants to leave, we’ll sit down and have that conversation with him.
‘We will keep doing what is in the best interests of Jed Wallace – but more importantly, Portsmouth Football Club.’
With Wallace’s contract up in the summer, the prospect of him leaving the club as a free agent is becoming stronger.
That would mean Pompey receiving training compensation for the midfielder, set by an independent tribunal.
The subjective nature of that payment means Catlin doesn’t want to go down that route.
But he feels it is important to allow Wallace to concentrate on playing football.
‘I don’t want to set deadlines because he is a contracted player until the end of the season,’ added Catlin.
‘Even beyond that date we can keep talking to him.
‘What we don’t want to do is lose one of our best players by having a row with him, him not wanting to play and us not wanting him here. That’s in no-one’s interest.
‘What we will do is manage the situation. If Jed doesn’t sign and another club wants him it would go to a tribunal.
‘They take into account a number of factors.
‘We could come away pleased or disappointed.
‘Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.’