City win battle with Pompey over Benjani price tag

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The Independent Football

Manchester City have won their battle to renegotiate a price for Portsmouth striker Benjani Mwaruwari and will today announce his arrival at Eastlands for around £3.8m – half the price the south coast club had demanded.

City are privately delighted by the player's arrival at what appears to be a far more realistic asking price than the £7.75m initially quoted by Portsmouth, who may now be regretting their failure to get the player to Manchester earlier – when City seemed prepared to pay that sum.

Appearance fees totalling around £3m are built into the deal but the Zimbabwean will have to play more than the 14 remaining league games this season before the first £1m fee is triggered. Two further appearance stages will trigger similar sums. City expect the Premier League and FA to ratify the agreement today. The player will be unveiled later this week, probably at the same time as Ecuadorian striker Felipe Caicedo who, at £5.1m, has now become the more expensive of the two new arrivals.

As negotiations got under way yesterday, it became clear that City were operating from a position of strength, since Portsmouth needed money for Benjani to pay for Jermain Defoe but had only one club they might sell to.

Benjani has remained in Manchester since Thursday night and has now undergone a full medical. The player's contract has also been reduced from three-and-a-half to two-and-a-half years – a factor which might have an impact on the extra appearance fees, though City will be happy to pay the full £6.8m if Benjani prospers and fulfils the potential which his 12 goals this season, including two hat-tricks, seem to illustrate.

The Premier League has reiterated that it is of the view that City had shown a clear intention to sign Benjani on Thursday night – despite his eleventh hour appearance at the club which had led officials to halt proceedings late and provide incomplete paperwork – and that for it to conclude otherwise would set a bad precedent.

City have been impressed by Benjani's attitude since Thursday's farce and his willingness to stay around in Manchester to help get the deal done.

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