Why it’s all go­ing wrong for Pom­pey

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

PORTSMOUTH suf­fered an­other dou­ble blow this week when the Premier League up­held its trans­fer em­bargo and David James, the Eng­land goal­keeper, closed in on a move to Stoke City.

The Premier League has also now for­mally di­verted a £7 mil­lion broad­cast pay­ment to clubs who were still owed money by Portsmouth for past player trans­fers.

Those clubs are un­der­stood to be Chelsea, Tot­ten­ham, Rennes and Lens.

Portsmouth of­fi­cials met with the Premier League board on Tues­day in an ef­fort to ex­plain their fi­nan­cial predica­ment and have the trans­fer ban lifted, but con­cerns per­sist over the club’s on­go­ing abil­ity to man­age to­tal debts of around £60 mil­lion.

A state­ment on Thurs­day con­firmed that the league had im­ple­mented pow­ers to di­vert funds to foot­ball cred­i­tors.

The con­tin­u­a­tion of what is an in­def­i­nite trans­fer em­bargo will come as a ma­jor dis­ap­point­ment to man­ager Avram Grant who has been des­per­ate to add to his squad, even if it is with a se­ries of loan deals or free trans­fers.

Portsmouth are also fac­ing de­mands from Rev­enue and Cus­toms and ap­pealed in the High Court yes­ter­day against the wind­ing-up pe­ti­tion that has been served on them.

They will, how­ever, save around £1 mil­lion by get­ting James off the wage-bill un­til his con­tract ex­pires at the end of the sea­son.

Ne­go­ti­a­tions were on­go­ing last night, al­though Stoke are un­der­stood to be hope­ful that Portsmouth will con­tinue to part-fund his wages of around £50,000-a-week.

A deal is ex­pected to be con­cluded in time for Stoke’s match against Liver­pool to­day, with the po­si­tion of cur­rent first-choice goal­keeper Thomas Sorensen, who has been linked with Bay­ern Mu­nich, now in doubt.

“It makes it more im­por­tant that we cover our­selves,” said Stoke man­ager Tony Pulis.

“If Bay­ern Mu­nich, Manch­ester United or Chelsea come in for Thomas, he would want to bet­ter him­self like ev­ery­body else does.

“Sorensen has done bril­liantly, so they will both be fight­ing for that one spot.” – The Tele­graph

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