Portsmouth rubbish talk of player exodus

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The Independent Online

Peter Storrie, the Portsmouth executive chairman, has dismissed suggestions the club must sell several of their players this month to balance the books as "a load of rubbish".

Owner Alexandre Gaydamak is known to be open to offers for the club, who today host Bristol City in the third round of the FA Cup – a competition they won last year – and reports have repeatedly called Pompey's financial situation into question.

The midfielder Lassana Diarra has already left for Real Madrid in a £20m deal and Jermain Defoe is widely expected to follow him out of Fratton Park before the end of this month. But Storrie insists any departures in the current transfer window will be at the club's discretion and not as a result of financial necessity.

"Quite simply the media speculation is a load of rubbish," Storrie said. "The club is not in any financial difficulty. Yes, we are up for sale, but so are about a third of Premier League clubs.

"Sacha Gaydamak will only sell to a buyer who is prepared to invest and take the club to the next level. If that doesn't happen he will continue to support Portsmouth Football Club in the same way that he has for the past three years. Having sold Lassana Diarra to Real Madrid, we do not have to sell any more players."

Storrie has even told supporters to expect some fresh talent at the club in the coming weeks. "We have already secured the permanent signing of Nadir Belhadj, and Tony [Adams, manager] and I are working on getting some other new faces in as quickly as we can to bolster the squad," he added.

Defoe, who phoned in sick for training yesterday morning with a virus, has been strongly linked with a move to Aston Villa and back to his former club Tottenham Hotspur, who are now managed by the former Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp.

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