James will leave City if the price is right, says Pearce

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The Independent Football

Stuart Pearce has challenged Portsmouth to make Manchester City an offer they cannot refuse for their goalkeeper David James.

James has told Pearce of he wants to leave City, mainly for personal reasons and has made it clear he would be interested in a move to Fratton Park. The City manager has virtually accepted that the 36-year-old England World Cup keeper will eventually be moving on, hence his decision to check out Rennes' Swedish goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson and the second-choice Liverpool keeper Jerzy Dudek.

However, Portsmouth have been warned that they will have to come up with an acceptable deal, believed to be around the £1m mark.

"David has expressed a wish to leave and I have to be prepared for that eventuality," said Pearce. "But the bottom line is whether the finance we are being offered is acceptable. Portsmouth have made one bid, which has been rejected. Unless the situation changes David will have to stay and carry on what he has been doing for the last two and a half years."

Although James's desire to spend more time with his fiancée, who is based in the south of England, is a major influence behind his desire for a move, so, too, is the potential offer of a three-year contract at Portsmouth. Currently in the final year of his present deal at City, James knows he cannot get a similar deal where he is.

The keeper spoke to his manager during the recent two-match tour of China, with Pearce insisting there has been no major fall-out.

"David has been as good as gold," Pearce said. "I understand the reasons for him wanting to leave. He is not anti-Manchester City and he is not anti-Stuart Pearce. The situation might be difficult for someone whose mind was elsewhere but I don't anticipate any problems from David whether he stays or goes."

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