Stoke return to Pompey in bid to tie up James deal

Negotiations reopen as City prepare to compromise in effort to recruit England keeper before weekend
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The Independent Football

David James, the England goalkeeper, could yet move from Portsmouth to Stoke City after all as the two clubs revived talks on a loan deal yesterday. Negotiations had collapsed on Friday when the clubs could not agree who would be responsible for the 39-year-old's wages of £60,000 a week.

However, the two sides were back talking yesterday to thrash out details on a move that could see James move to the Britannia Stadium before the weekend. Stoke reopened negotiations yesterday and are proposing a compromise which is thought to fall short of paying James' wages in full.

Portsmouth, who have been late paying their players three times this season, refused to budge last week when Stoke proposed a sliding scale of wages depending on James' appearances. Stoke also only agreed to pay the player's wages until the end of the season on 9 May, but Portsmouth wanted them to continue paying another seven weeks until the termination of his contract, which runs out at the end of June.

James is keen to leave Portsmouth, whom he joined for £1.2m in 2006. He is on a deal which means he automatically triggers a new 12-month contract extension when he plays 20 matches for Portsmouth this season. So far he has played 12, and the club cannot afford to be liable for his wages next season, especially as they are likely to be in the Championship.

James needs first-team football if he is to win back his place with England, for whom he has not played since April. He is confident he can win a new contract with a Premier League club with his performances for Stoke and England, even though he turns 40 in August.

Portsmouth are also being sued for £1.7m by the club's former defender, Sol Campbell, over allegedly unpaid image rights fees and bonuses plus interest. Campbell, who last week rejoined Arsenal until the end of the season, has lodged a writ in the High Court demanding payment. A Portsmouth spokesman said yesterday: "It is being handled by our lawyers."

The writ is the latest blow for Portsmouth who are facing a winding-up order for unpaid taxes. They are bottom of the Premier League and have been banned from registering any new players because they owed money to other clubs in unpaid transfer instalments.

The club also owe money to their former owner Sacha Gaydamak, who yesterday indicated he expects to be paid £9m by the end of this month. Gaydamak and the club have been at loggerheads over around £32m, which the former owner says Pompey owe him

Portsmouth's chief executive, Peter Storrie, appeared at Southwark Crown Court yesterday accused of tax evasion by concealing a signing-on fee for Amdy Faye when he moved from Auxerre to Portsmouth for £1.5m in 2003. Storrie spoke only to confirm his name and the case was adjourned until 15 April, when he is due to enter a plea. Storrie has said he will defend himself in the "strongest possible terms".

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