Grant considers Pompey exit over latest player sales
Friday 29 January 2010
Avram Grant, the Portsmouth manager, is understood to be considering his future at the club over attempts to sell defender Younes Kaboul and goalkeeper Asmir Begovic to Tottenham without his consent. Grant is believed to have offered his resignation last night after a promise he was given this month, that no more players would have to be sold to meet financial commitments, was broken. Portsmouth executive director, Mark Jacob, told fans on 7 January that the club would not be forced into selling any more of their better players.
But talks opened yesterday between Portsmouth and Spurs over the proposed move of Kaboul and Begovic for a fee believed to be about £8m, sparking an angry reaction from Grant.
The proposed sales also prompted chief executive Peter Storrie to question his own future at the club after he was not involved in negotiations over the two players. Asked on local radio if his position had become almost untenable, Storrie said: "In many ways it probably has because it makes you wonder what one is doing there at the moment.
"If it was a need to sell a player and get the right money then I feel I am the best person to have got the best fee for the club in this situation, but I didn't know anything about it until I came into the office this morning and took a call from Avram."
Grant is understood to be upset that two of his best players are to be sold with the club four points adrift at the bottom of the Premier League. Kaboul moved to Portsmouth from Tottenham in the summer of 2008 for £6m. Harry Redknapp was the Portsmouth manager who brought him to the south coast, and Redknapp is keen to bring the 24-year-old defender back to Tottenham. Kaboul is valued at about £10m but it is understood Portsmouth owe Tottenham £2m from the original deal 18 months ago.
Redknapp has been keeping an eye on Begovic, a 22-year-old Bosnia international, since his time at Portsmouth. The goalkeeper would however be unable to play for Tottenham this season, having appeared for Portsmouth and six matches on loan at Ipswich. Fifa rules state a player may only play for two clubs in one season.
However, any sales should at least enable Pompey to pay their players. Today is pay-day for the playing staff at Fratton Park, and unless the deals go through Portsmouth will be unable to meet their £1.8m monthly wage bill for the fourth month in five. An email was sent to staff yesterday warning them that wages may be unpaid today.
The extent of Portsmouth's woes were made apparent yesterday when the club's website was closed for several hours over unpaid bills. Money was eventually transferred and by mid-afternoon the site was up again.
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