Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp yesterday claimed the club had rejected a bid of £12m from Monaco for midfielder Niko Kranjcar.
Redknapp, who is still hoping to add at least two new signings to his squad before the start of the season, with Chelsea's £10m-rated Shaun Wright-Phillips and Reading's Nicky Shorey at the top of his wanted list, knows he may have to raise funds to complete the deals. However he insisted that the Croatian international was not one of the players he is willing to sell.
"Monaco have come in for Niko and offered around £12m for him," Redknapp revealed. "We wouldn't sell and he didn't want to go anyway so that was the end of that one. No disrespect but why would he want to go there anyway? They get 6,000 people watching them. You go there on a weekend and it's a unique experience, people aren't interested in the football. They all go out on the Saturday night and get dressed up for dinner, not to watch football."
Nevertheless, and despite his colourful dismissal of the French club, Redknapp's resolve to hang on to the 23-year-old may be tested further – especially as Kranjcar has made it clear he wants to play for a team in the Champions League. It is also interesting that Redknapp has made the bid public – as it may provide an indication that he wants to create a market for the player although it is also clear that he would prefer to sell John Utaka or David Nugent.
Roma are certainly interested in Kranjcar while rumours persist that other high-profile clubs may be preparing bids for a player who excelled at the European Championship. He joined Portsmouth for £3.5m from Rennes two years ago.
Portsmouth became involved in a dialogue with Monaco after making an inquiry about their midfielder Jeremy Munoz. However they have balked at the £9m asking price for the 21-year-old while Monaco have turned their attentions to American midfielder Michael Bradley, who plays for Dutch club Heerenveen.
Redknapp also dismissed suggestions that he may be willing to sell Sulley Muntari, claiming Juventus' alleged interest was "just paper talk". "We haven't spoken to anybody and I don't want to sell Sulley anyway," Redknapp said. "He's a top player – so is Niko. They are good young players, we don't have to let anyone leave and we definitely don't want to. They're going nowhere, nowhere at all."
However he is looking to strengthen his squad. No bid, as yet, has been made for Wright-Phillips but Portsmouth are planning to make an offer even if they are concerned as to how they can cover his wage demands. Reading have made it clear they will accept £3m for Shorey who has one year left on his contract and wants to leave. Portsmouth are also trying to construct a deal to take Tottenham defender Younes Kaboul even if that may have to be initially on loan, although Spurs would prefer a straight sale.