Can Pompey sell star duo before World Cup starts?
By Site reporter
Saturday 05 Jun 2010 22:09:00
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World Cup duo Nadir Belhadj and John Utaka could both be sold before the tournament begins as Pompey start to rake in the millions they need to raise from player sales this summer.

Belhadj could be the first to follow Avram Grant to West Ham while Utaka is wanted by Sochaux and a couple of Middle Eastern clubs. The Blues may well have in their minds that of all players in World Cup squads, only a handful will see their values go up by the end of the tournament.


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The administrators are keen to start selling Pompey’s top assets, and if they can do so before the World Cup, it will also be before the creditors’ meeting on June 17, when any reduction in the overall debt will presumably be welcomed by most of those present.

Reports in a number of the weekend’s papers are again linking the Hammers with a move for Algerian international Belhadj, who could bring in around £2m-£3m.

Belhadj is quoted as saying: ‘Everyone is talking about West Ham, because we all know Grant`s going there. I`ve spoken to the coach. But there`s absolutely nothing concrete yet.’

Utaka is another near the front of the queue of those looking for a new home, and Andrew Andronikou says Pompey will not stand for being short-changed. Utaka cost them £7m when he was signed from Rennes three summers ago but can expect less than half of that when he departs.

Andronikou said: ‘I think John would want to go, but it would have to be a good bit of business. John is a talented striker and, on his day, he is a class act. The coaches feel he is a player who would generate a good fee if he was to leave. It may well be that his career now lies away from Europe.

‘It may be that he wants to go back to the Middle East. We have ideas of what values we want to achieve. We certainly think what we should be offered for John is more than we would expect for one or two other players.

‘We're not advocating a fire sale here, though, so if we don't achieve the price we think is right for him we are not going to let him go.’

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