Portsmouth admit interest in Wright-Phillips

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The Independent Football

Portsmouth have said they would be interested in bringing Chelsea winger Shaun Wright-Phillips to Fratton Park in next month's transfer window.

The adopted son of the former Arsenal forward Ian Wright cost Chelsea £21m from Manchester City last season but has started only 19 games for the Premiership champions - and just 13 in the League.

Although Chelsea have been accused of signing Wright-Phillips just to prevent rivals such as Arsenal and Liverpool snapping him up, Portsmouth have now confirmed they are interested in bringing him to the south coast where his former Chelsea team-mate Glen Johnson is on loan for the season.

Speculation has linked Wright-Phillips with a loan move next month - even though he recently said: "Why would I want to leave Chelsea?"

The 25-year-old has found a starting place hard to come by at Stamford Bridge, which has diluted his England opportunities; he missed the World Cup in Germany in the summer.

Portsmouth's chief executive Peter Storrie said: "We are considering various options for strengthening next month. We are looking at names, drawing up lists and, of course, we would consider a player of Shaun Wright-Phillips's ability.

"But it is a matter of what he wants to do and what Chelsea want to do. He is Chelsea's player."

The manager Harry Redknapp has already said, however, that a quick winger is top of his list in January as well as at least two other new signings and has every confidence in club owner Alexandre Gaydamak putting up the money.

The former Portsmouth chairman Milan Mandaric told the Portsmouth News: "[Gaydemak] will do his very best for the club. You have only got to see what he has spent already to know that."

Mandaric's words suggest that property magnate Gaydamak, 30, has paid the final instalment of the fee to seal his takeover, believed to be worth a total of £32m.

Yet Redknapp insists: "The owner is ambitious to do well here and I know that if I want two or three signings next month he will be there for me."

Redknapp, who was scouting at a French league match on Sunday, has already been linked with Toulouse's midfielder Achille Emana, the St Etienne striker Fridiric Piquionne and the Auxerre defender Younes Kaboul.

The on-loan Benfica midfielder Manuel Fernandes will be sent home next month after it transpired he would cost £12m if Portsmouth wanted to sign him permanently.

Nearer home, the centre backs Sylvain Distin (Manchester City), Titus Bramble (Newcastle United) and Curtis Davies (West Bromwich Albion) appear to have attracted his attention. Redknapp has spent less than £5m in the transfer market this season though the arrivals of Sol Campbell, David James and the like have added to Portsmouth's wage bill.

Redknapp added: "I will only pay the right money to bring people in - not just for the sake of it."

Elsewhere, the Watford forward Ashley Young has promised more home comforts to reward the club's fans for their long-distance journeys in support of Adrian Boothroyd's side.

Watford are bottom of the Premiership, six points off safety with consecutive games against Liverpool and Arsenal looming. Young says the team appreciate the fans' backing despite their prospects for staying in the top flight looking decidedly uncertain.

The 21-year-old said: "They have just been all the way to Newcastle in their thousands and next Saturday, a couple of days before Christmas, the supporters face another long trip to Liverpool. It's nice to see them and hear them everywhere we go. I just hope it continues. I hope they keep it up."

The club, having failed with a £1.5m bid for Crystal Palace's Jobi McAnuff, could turn to Polish striker Marek Saganowski. The striker, who plays for French club Troyes but has made only six appearances this season, will sign a six-month contract if he impresses in a training stint this week.

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