City get good run for Benjani money

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The Independent Football

Manchester City's new striker Benjani Mwaruwari must play 75 times for the club before Portsmouth recoup anything near the £7.75m they were seeking for the player. Benjani, 29, who will be unveiled on Friday, will recoup Portsmouth £1m a time when he plays his 25th, 50th and 75th games for City, which means the first appearance fee will not be due until next season, even if the Zimbabwe captain plays in each of City's remaining fixtures this season.

City confirmed yesterday that their initial outlay is to be £3.87m, less than half the lump sum Portsmouth were seeking, and the Mwaruwari was clearly delighted as left the club's Carrington training ground at lunchtime. "Yes," he said, with a grin, when asked if he was relieved to have put the controversy surrounding his protracted five-day transfer behind him.

Portsmouth attempted to put as positive a gloss as possible on the move, describing the renegotiated fee as an "altering of the schedule of payments", though the full up-front payment City seem to have been prepared to make, before Benjani's late arrival halted negotiations last week, would have been useful as the south coast club bring in Jermain Defoe.

Peter Storrie, the Portsmouth chief executive, was at pains to say the club had not been forced into the deal. Pompey also firmly rejected suggestions that an old knee injury had shown up in a rushed medical which had been forced on City when Benjani arrived late in Manchester.

But City are as delighted as the player, who will go straight into the squad for Sunday's emotion-charged Manchester derby at Old Trafford where he is expected to lead the line in a side which has found the net just seven times in nine games.