Kaboul snubs Sunderland for Portsmouth

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The Independent Football

Younes Kaboul could still be set to join Portsmouth after his agent revealed the Frenchman has turned down Sunderland.

The Tottenham centre-back looked set for a move north to join former team-mates Teemu Tainio and Pascal Chimbonda who have already signed up for Roy Keane's side, with Steed Malbranque poised to follow them after a medical.

But Kaboul's agent Rudy Raba has confirmed that his client would prefer a move south.

Raba told the Portsmouth News: "He wants to go to Portsmouth. He would prefer to go there."

The agent added: "Sunderland wanted to know within 24 hours but, while he is thankful to (manager) Roy Keane for his interest, the boy has decided he does not want to go there."

Pompey have not yet agreed a transfer fee with Tottenham for the player who reportedly cost the London club £8.3m last summer from Auxerre but was soon out of favour after Juande Ramos took over in November.

But Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp is a long-time admirer of the defender, admitting he "drank Moroccan tea with Kaboul's parents" in France when he considering signing him last summer.

Redknapp has admitted that after spending £11m on striker Peter Crouch, he does not know how much is left for further team-rebuilding - even after selling Sulley Muntari to Inter Milan - and must wait until owner Sacha Gaydamak reveals what he has to work with.

Although Redknapp insisted recently that Portsmouth seemed to be "third in line" after Sunderland and Aston Villa in the race to sign Kaboul, the player's clear desire to move to Fratton Park and Tottenham's current hectic activity in the transfer market could speed up a deal.

Meanwhile, a stomach bug affecting 10 players is the latest blow to hit Portsmouth's ill-fated pre-season tour in Africa but after the riots in Nigeria's Arbuga, which marred the prestige friendly against Manchester United at the weekend, Redknapp finally has some good news.

Crouch, defender Linvoy Primus and midfielder Sean Davis were passed fit to face local side Ajax Cape Town in a friendly match at the South African side's training ground after becoming the latest victims of the virus.

But injuries have beset Pompey on tour - playing on a poor pitch in Nigeria where they beat local champions Kano Pillars 5-0 but lost 2-1 to United 24 hours later.

Winger John Utaka, striker Kanu and new signing Glen Little have all had to sit out training since Pompey arrived in Cape Town on Monday and centre-back Noe Pamarot has been sent for a scan on a damaged thigh, fearing he will miss the start of the season.

Redknapp, who says he still needs another wide midfielder - Chelsea's Shaun Wright-Phillips still his top choice - a centre-half and another left-back to make the FA Cup winners competitive again in the Barclays Premier League and UEFA Cup next term.

He is trialling Celestine Babayaro, the former Anderlecht, Chelsea and Newcastle defender, and Eyong Enoh, a Cameroon Under-23 international who plays for Ajax Cape Town. Portsmouth have based their training camp in Cape Town until Friday.

Babayaro's contract was terminated at Newcastle in December having played just 47 games in three seasons following back and groin problems.

And the Nigeria international, 30, made the trip with Portsmouth despite being reportedly diagnosed with a case of malaria just a few weeks ago. He was fit enough to play for them last weekend and boss Redknapp is continuing to monitor his progress.

Enoh, 22, has recently returned to Cape Town after a trial with Israeli side Maccabi Haifa - with another invitation soon to try out with Ajax Amsterdam - the South African side's parent club.

Kaboul's agent has suggested that Pompey would be the youngster's preferred destination, which would leave Keane continuing to look for a centre-back.

Keane has also signed forward El-Hadji Diouf from Bolton as he changes the look of his side that finished 15th in the Barclays Premier League last season.