by Seyi Lawal
Nigerian football star, Kanu Nwankwo has refused to leave Pompey until the club pays the full amount owed to him for the remainder of his 12-month contract.
Blues administrator, Trevor Birch, insists the striker’s agent is demanding about £300,000 for him to leave Fratton Park early, despite the club still fighting to stay alive.
Aged 35, Kanu’s back problem made him only available to play in just 12 matches this season.
The sum is believed to put a dent in the club’s account even though Kanu’s current deal has already been lowered by a relegation clause.
Kanu is not alone. The scorer of Pompey’s FA Cup-winning goal in 2008 is among several players who the Blues are seeking to reach compromise agreements with.
According to The News, Tal Ben Haim is another player refusing to lower his sights following talks with Birch last week. That will cost Pompey close to £2m for him to leave this summer.
Both players accepted wage deferrals towards the end of the campaign along with their team-mates to alleviate the club’s financial problems. Now more money needs to be saved as the administrators strive to slash the club wage bill in half ahead of life in League One.
And Birch is growing ever-frustrated with their stance. ‘Draconian wage cuts and deferrals among the players is the only way the club can go forward. That is why it is in everybody’s interests we get compromises or they sign reductions on what they are playing for. The ones we are having problems with are Kanu and Ben Haim. You cannot strike a deal with them. Kanu’s agent wants the full amount and at the moment he is going nowhere. His agent is digging his heels in as well, making demands, and it is very difficult to solve. As for our friend Ben Haim, he just won’t budge. The deal he wants is not achievable. We have not got the means to do it,” Birch said.
Deferrals agreed by players have meant that, since May, there has been a weekly wage cap of less than £10,000.
Birch stressed the players will not lose out. This agreement is open-ended and any player leaving will receive the money owed as part of any compromise. “The deferrals will be paid back. As football creditors, the players have to be paid in full, albeit spread over a period of time. That could be four years but they will get the money back. They are keeping the club afloat at the minute with those deferrals. But when I come to talk to them about their future contract or future entitlements they will have to compromise to help the club going forwards.”
Source: The News.