Tag Archives: worth

Cheltenham Festival – win VIP tickets

WIN VIP tickets to the Cheltenham Festival, including meal and drinks – courtesy of lovetheraces.com

UPDATED:

17:21 GMT, 18 February 2013

Sportsmail has teamed up with lovetheraces.com to offer you a sensational VIP trip to the Cheltenham Festival.

A day at the races offers something for everyone, from the glitz and glamour of the special day to the fun of a flutter and the thrill of a big winner.

And there’s no bigger racing event in the calendar than the world famous Cheltenham Festival next month featuring the Gold Cup.

Cheltenham

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Love the races

To be in with a chance, answer the following question:

What is the flagship race of the Cheltenham Festival
A) The Silver Cup
B) The Bronze Cup
C) The Gold Cup

E-mail your answer, along with your name, address and contact number to:

[email protected]

to arrive by 3pm on Friday, February 22.

PLEASE NOTE: You must validate your entry with the words CHELTENHAM COMP in your subject box; tickets do not include travel to/from the Cheltenham Festival or accommodation; normal Associated Newspapers terms and conditions apply – the Editor's decision is final.

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Demba Ba"s transfer could become a nightmare due to the middlemen

Why buying Ba can become a nightmare as middlemen threaten to hijack the deal

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 31 December 2012

As the transfer window opens on Tuesday, the deal to take Demba Ba from Newcastle United offers a cautionary tale for clubs preparing to risk all.

Newcastle, Chelsea and any other prospective buyers are having to deal with a relatively new phenomenon, fending off an assorted bunch of intermediaries, transfer fixers, friends and family members associated with the Senegal striker.

They all want a piece of the pie, cashing in on a player with 13 goals in the Barclays Premier League for Alan Pardew’s side this season.

Waving goodbye Newcastle's Demba Ba looks set to leave the club this month

Waving goodbye Newcastle's Demba Ba looks set to leave the club this month

Ba is big business and there is money to be made as the deal-makers chase 5million in commission — money the buying club would have to pay over the term of the player’s four-year deal — to seal the biggest move of his career.

The Newcastle striker has an official agent — Frenchman Alex Gontran — and he alone has the mandate to sell Ba to another club for a fixed fee of 7m.

Everybody else is simply trying to hijack the deal, causing hysteria by relentlessly putting calls in to Premier League clubs about his availability. Some of the sums are bewildering, but Newcastle accept that the transfer window attracts opportunists.

Ba is already due a 2m bonus if he leaves St James’ Park after he negotiated a separate clause in his contract when he arrived on a free transfer from West Ham in 2011. He moved after the Hammers were relegated, and he negotiated a deal worth 45,000 a week, including appearance fees.

Sort it out: Newcastle boss Alan Pardew wants the transfer sorted out professionally

Sort it out: Newcastle boss Alan Pardew wants the transfer sorted out professionally

Taking into account his demand for a four-year contract worth 90,000 a week at Chelsea, along with the transfer fee and commission, the total outlay for Ba’s new club could reach 28m. Big money, but the risks are even bigger.

He is likely to fail a thorough club medical because of a chronic condition in his right knee and there is always a danger of complications in the future. Yet, this has never stopped him training at Newcastle and he, and the club, are proud of the fact he has never missed a day on the practice pitch with soreness or swelling.

The injury, which led to a move to Stoke falling through in January 2011, remains a big risk for Premier League suitors.

When his representatives met Chelsea, they failed to reach an agreement on the commission and salary for a player who appears determined to leave St James’ Park.

Newcastle’s managing director Derek Llambias is entitled to take issue with Chelsea for meeting Ba’s representatives on Sunday night but the club have no conclusive proof that the talks did take place.

Ready and waiting: Papiss Cisse is ready to take the centre forward role if Ba leaves

Ready and waiting: Papiss Cisse is ready to take the centre forward role if Ba leaves

Llambias has yet to receive an email from any club, which would trigger the 7m release clause in his contract, but it hasn’t stopped negotiations taking place outside Newcastle.

Around two months ago, Llambias opened talks over a new contract, but Ba made it clear that he wanted to explore other options in January. The club made a final offer and — with the window in mind — set a strict deadline.

If Ba refuses the improved terms on offer on Tyneside he will remain on 45,000 a week for the next 18 months unless his release clause is triggered.

Despite the current uncertainty, Ba has been a great piece of business for Newcastle, scoring 16 goals in the Premier League last season.

Llambias, a shrewd operator, will be heading to Europe later this week as Newcastle prepare to sign a replacement.

After owner Mike Ashley squandered fortunes in his first few years at the club, Llambias runs a tight ship and is at ease as Ba works his exit strategy.

Incoming: Mathieu Debuchy looks set to join Newcastle

Incoming: Mathieu Debuchy looks set to join Newcastle

Papiss Cisse, scorer of 13 in 14 Premier League games last season — including the BBC’s goal of the season at Chelsea — will be promoted to play in his place.

Newcastle, who are also exploring other options, themselves make a habit of getting the jump on their rivals by discovering release clauses in their targets’ contracts. Their scouting strategy is the envy of the Premier League and player recruitment is run by the renowned talent spotter, Graham Carr.

In the summer they offered Lille 8m for right back Mathieu Debuchy, but the French club were under no pressure to sell after Chelsea paid 32m for Eden Hazard.

Making the right call: Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley and managing director Derek Llambias know every transfer has an element of risk

Making the right call: Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley and managing director Derek Llambias know every transfer has an element of risk

Six months on they have finally landed their man for around 5.5m and France defender Debuchy will be at St James’ Park tomorrow to watch Newcastle play Everton.

It is a deal that has ultimately worked in the North East club’s favour, but Llambias knows every transfer is a gamble.

Modern players are told by their agents to run down their contracts until they reach the point of no return. Newcastle open talks with their top players two years before their contracts end, but they have not always benefited.

Left back Jose Enrique refused to renegotiate a long-term deal and eventually signed for Liverpool in 2011 for a vastly reduced fee based on the term left on his contract.

There is little risk, other than loss of form, if Ba refuses to renegotiate with Newcastle and is unable to reach an agreement with another club.

In the meantime, Ba’s middlemen will be chasing big money.

Theo Walcott wanted by Liverpool in in January for 8m

Kop go for Theo! Rodgers tells Liverpool to launch 8m bid for contract rebel Walcott

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UPDATED:

22:45 GMT, 1 November 2012

Liverpool are poised to launch an 8million bid to prise Theo Walcott from Arsenal in January.

The England forward is out of contract in the summer and Arsenal are trying to convince him to sign a new deal before Christmas.

The 23-year-old has rejected a five-year contract worth 75,000 a week, saying he wants to switch from the wing to a central striking role and also play more regularly.

Wrangles: Theo Walcott is in fine form for Arsenal but has not agreed a new deal

Wrangles: Theo Walcott is in fine form for Arsenal but has not agreed a new deal

Saving the day: Walcott scores Arsenal's fourth goal in the comeback at Reading

Saving the day: Walcott scores Arsenal's fourth goal in the comeback at Reading

Stats add up for Theo

The leading Arsenal goalscorers in all competitions since start of 2011/12

Goals (all comps)

Robin van Persie 37
Theo Walcott 18
Gervinho 9
Mikel Arteta 7
Yossi Benayoun 6
Thomas Vermaelen 6
Laurent Koscielny 5
Alex Oxlade-
Chamberlain 5
Lukas Podolski 4
Aaron Ramsey 4

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is
ready to offer both those things. He wanted to sign Walcott in the
summer and will revive his efforts ahead of the January window.

Rodgers, who is desperately short of
strikers after loaning Andy Carroll to West Ham and losing Fabio Borini
to a broken foot, bemoaned his small squad following Liverpool’s Capital
One Cup defeat by Swansea.

He wants to sign two forwards with
Walcott his main target to share the goalscoring burden with Luis
Suarez. And Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admitted on Thursday that he
may be forced to sell if Walcott fails to agree a new deal.

He said: ‘I wouldn’t like to (sell
Walcott). I’ve not even thought about that, because at the moment I
think we will still manage to make a deal with him.

'But there is urgency. How much I
don’t know, but there is urgency. We want to sort it out before
Christmas, one way or the other.’

Hands off: Brendan Rodgers will have to work hard to get Walcott

Hands off: Brendan Rodgers will have to work hard to get Walcott

Hands off: Brendan Rodgers will have to work to get Walcott from Arsene Wenger

Walcott has started just three games
this season but scored a hat-trick in Arsenal’s 7-5 win over Reading in
the Capital One Cup on Tuesday. He is their top scorer with seven goals.

Wenger added: ‘I always said it is
important that he plays in the right position and that certainly would
be through the middle in the future. He showed that again on Tuesday
night.

‘The positions on the flanks are
changing – you need to do a lot of defending and he should be dedicated
more to offensive work.

‘It’s better (for Walcott to express
his views) in private. I have always come out publicly and said that I
see him in the future through the middle as well.

‘He loves to score goals. He has good
pace, makes excellent, intelligent runs, and what has changed with Theo
is he’s become a very good finisher.

‘Take, for example, his first goal the other night at Reading. It was a real finisher’s goal.

Burden: Luis Suarez is Liverpool's only fit and firing striker

Burden: Luis Suarez is Liverpool's only fit and firing striker

‘In our team, we have freedom of
movement. Nobody is handcuffed. When we have the ball, we have a lot of
freedom to move. It’s important to know where we go, but I think Theo
has learned a lot on that.’

Walcott, who has 28 England caps, joined Arsenal from Southampton, aged 16, for 12.5m in 2006.

Arsenal would want to at least recoup
that fee but Liverpool’s offer will reflect the fact that he is free to
leave in the summer.

Nick Harris: Steve Kean turned his back on 14.9m Blackburn deal

Kean turned his back on 14.9m Blackburn deal

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UPDATED:

22:23 GMT, 6 October 2012

Steve Kean, described as 'unsackable'
when he was appointed Blackburn Rovers manager in January last year,
walked out on a contract worth up to 14.9million when he resigned nine
days ago.

The 45-year-old Scot quit the
Championship club claiming through his lawyers that he had been 'forced
to resign … with immediate effect due to my position as team manager
becoming untenable'.

But speculation is rife that Kean jumped
ship because he feared he was about to be sacked, and if that happened
his payout under the terms of his contract would have been as low as
300,000.

Missing out: Former Blackburn boss Steve Kean

Missing out: Former Blackburn boss Steve Kean

Now Kean is thought to be considering a claim against the club for constructive dismissal which, if successful, would be likely to see him receive a much larger settlement figure.

Kean had been the target of fans' derision since his stewardship saw the club drop out of the Premier League at the end of last season. He became Rovers' permanent manager in January 2011 and despite narrowly avoiding relegation that season and a poor start to the 2011-12 campaign, Blackburn's Indian owners, the Venkys poultry conglomerate, offered him an extended deal until the summer of 2016, which he agreed last November.

Under that contract, Kean was guaranteed basic pay of just under 12m if Rovers had remained in the Premier League for the four-and-a-half years of the deal, plus up to 3m in bonuses over the period depending on finishing positions and cup runs.

He was on a 1m-a-year basic deal last season, which would have risen to 1.2m this season if Rovers were still in the top flight, then 1.5m, 1.75m and 2m – plus 'additional salary' payments of 1.6m per year for the last three years, regardless of which division Blackburn were in.

Pay reductions for relegations were factored in, hence his 2012-13 basic pay of 600,000 a year, albeit with a 500,000 bonus if Rovers won immediate promotion. Other bonuses included six-figure sums for cup success or European qualification. Kean did not respond to a request for comment.

The FA's Horne of plenty

Alex Horne FA General Secretary

The Football Association have had an uncomfortable week, what with Roy Hodgson's Rio gaffe, the John Terry verdict and Ashley Cole's vulgar reaction on Twitter.

But at least FA secretary Alex Horne (right) is smiling, thanks to a year-on-year pay rise of 189,000 – from 339,000 to 528,000 – revealed in the FA's latest accounts.

That makes him the FA's highest-paid director. Sources insist the cash hike is performance-related and a result of the FA's improving financial position.

The FA should be guaranteed more good news on Tuesday, when the longawaited national football centre at St George's Park, Burton, is officially opened by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, with Kate sure to be the focus, to the FA's relief.

City coming up short on shirts

Liam Gallagher posing in Manchester City shirt

Blues brother: Liam Gallagher in his Manchester City shirt

Manchester City may have won the Premier League in dramatic fashion last May but the latest figures for replica shirt sales show how much work they still have to do before they can fulfil their goal of becoming a global household name.

While deadly rivals Manchester United and Spanish giants Real Madrid top the shirts table with average sales of 1.4million each in the last five seasons, City languish in 17th place in Europe, let alone the world, with a paltry 175,000 shirt sales a year.

According to the latest figures compiled by veteran analyst Dr Peter Rohlmann, Barcelona are the closest challengers to the big two, with an average 1.15m shirts a year. Chelsea (910,000 shirts) have climbed to fourth and now outsell Bayern Munich (880,000), Arsenal (850,000) and Liverpool (810,000).

Juventus, both Milan clubs and Borussia Dortmund are all in the top 10.

City's title-winning season is understood to have boosted their one-year sales to above 250,000, which at least helped to raise their five-year average. But in the same season, United and Madrid both sold more than 1.5m, and Champions League runners-up Bayern more than 1m, highlighting the gulf between brand leaders and upstart wannabes.

Playing a premium

Anthony Stewart, a $1m-a-year ice hockey star with the Carolina Hurricanes in the United States, is playing for a pittance with Nottingham Panthers because the NHL season has been disrupted by a contract dispute. Some 75 NHL players are working in Europe during the lock-out but Stewart, 27, is the only one who has opted for England. His agent, Eustace King, tells me Stewart is using his spell with the Panthers to gain experience of 'playing the premium role' in a team. In midweek, Stewart 'relaxed' by watching Nottingham Forest draw 0-0 with Blackburn, which can only have made him feel even more homesick than ever.

World Twenty20 2012: Umar Gul blasts Pakistan to victory over South Africa

Gul blasts Pakistan to victory over South Africa in low-scoring encounter

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UPDATED:

14:02 GMT, 28 September 2012

Umar Akmal and Umar Gul led a superb fightback as Pakistan snatched a two-wicket victory against South Africa in a thrilling opening Group 2 match of the World Twenty20 Super Eights.

Despite chasing a modest 134 for victory, Pakistan looked destined for defeat as they slumped to 76 for seven in the 15th over, needing 58 runs off the final 30 balls.

However, Akmal and Gul joined forces to turn the game on its head in an eighth-wicket partnership worth 49 in just 4.3 overs.

Gul force: Umar Gul smashed three sixes in his 32

Gul force: Umar Gul smashed three sixes in his 32

Gul force: Umar Gul smashed three sixes in his 32
SCORECARD

Click here for the full scorecard from Colombo

Man of the match Gul provided much of the
momentum as he smashed three sixes and two fours in a 17-ball 32 before
falling to the final ball of the penultimate over.

That left Pakistan needing nine off the last over and Akmal clubbed a
Morne Morkel full toss for six off the second ball before Saeed Ajmal
sealed the victory with a guided four off the fourth.

Akmal finished unbeaten on 43 off 41 deliveries, having also struck four other boundaries to go with that maximum.

The triumph leaves Pakistan at the top of Group 2 ahead of Friday afternoon's match between Australia and India.

Winning moment: Saeed Ajmal (left) and Umar Akmal celebrate Pakistan's win

Winning moment: Saeed Ajmal (left) and Umar Akmal celebrate Pakistan's win

Winning moment: Saeed Ajmal (left) and Umar Akmal celebrate Pakistan's win

South Africa were earlier limited to 133 for six after suffering a poor start in Colombo.

They lost Hashim Amla (six), Richard Levi (eight) and Jacques Kallis
(12) as they struggled to 28 for three after six overs, before JP Duminy
and AB de Villiers led a recovery.

Duminy put on 38 for the fourth wicket with Farhaan Behardien (18)
before adding 44 with captain De Villiers to help South Africa into
three figures before both fell in the closing overs.

The Proteas' total looked below par, and Pakistan were quickly making
in-roads into their target as captain Mohammad Hafeez and Imran Nazir
put on a rapid 24 for the first wicket.

Top scorer: JP Duminy hit 48 runs earlier in the day for the Proteas

Top scorer: JP Duminy hit 48 runs earlier in the day for the Proteas

Key man: Ajmal took the wicket of Richard Levi

Key man: Ajmal took the wicket of Richard Levi

However, South Africa hit back in emphatic fashion with three breakthroughs in seven balls.

Paceman Dale Steyn made the first, having Nazir caught behind by De
Villiers for 14, before spinner Robin Peterson struck twice in his first
over, bouncing back from being smashed for six off his opening delivery
by having Hafeez (15) and Nasir Jamshed (nought) stumped.

That was the start of a collapse that saw Pakistan in all sorts of
trouble but, just when it appeared as though South Africa were cruising
to victory, Akmal and Gul combined to dramatic effect.

Bath 30 Wasps 23: Kyle Eastmond opens his account

Bath 30 Wasps 23: Stunning start for Eastmond as first try is well worth the wait

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UPDATED:

19:08 GMT, 8 September 2012

Off and running: Kyle Eastmond scored his first try for Bath

Off and running: Kyle Eastmond scored his first try for Bath

Kyle Eastmond gave English rugby a taste of what is to come with a scorching try to settle this entertaining clash.

The 23-year-old spent last season on the sidelines following a spate of injuries that plagued his high-profile switch from rugby league.

But the comparisons with Jason Robinson were obvious as he bustled and stepped through eight Wasps players to claim his first try for Bath.

Bath assistant coach Brad Davis said: 'We all knew what a talent Kyle was when we signed him.

'Last year was a write-off with the injuries but his skills were never in doubt and he has produced the try of the season so far.'

But victory came at what could be a heavy price as Matt Banahan, who along with Tom Biggs also scored a try, limped off with a knee injury.

Head coach Toby Booth said: 'He will have a scan and we will wait to see the results. He has been put in a brace. All injuries are a worry.'

Tom Varndell and Christian Wade crossed for Wasps but they could only manage a second successive losing bonus, as Bath exposed the defensive frailties that surrendered a 27-point lead against Harlequins last week.

At times full-back Nick Abendanon broke through with ease before Banahan sauntered over on 26 minutes.

It took until almost halftime for Wasps to release young flyer Wade, who was denied by a lunging tackle from Ollie Barkley.

Nick Robinson cut the deficit to
four points but dithered on the ball before his pass struck Tom Palmer
and Biggs pounced to score.

Having struggled to conjure a scoring pass, it took an unlikely kick by 6ft 7in lock Marco Wentzel for Varndell to hit back.

Bath's forwards finally edged the
contest up front and though Carl Fearns blew a golden chance, Eastmond
proved far more lethal from a similar position.

Not to be outdone, the other exciting
young number 14 on the pitch showed what he could do when Wade outran
any blue jersey in sight on 73 minutes.

However it took Robinson's last kick of the game to rescue a losing bonus point.

Wasps coach Dai Young said: 'We
looked dangerous in broken play but we were disappointing in all other
areas. We lacked patience with the ball to build pressure.'

Doncaster"s Kyle Bennett offered chairman"s Bentley for 20 goals

Talk about a bonus! Doncaster player told he can have the chairman's Bentley for 20 goals

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UPDATED:

16:49 GMT, 24 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Doncaster Rovers footballer Kyle Bennett has been told he will be given the chairman's Bentley if he bangs in more than 20 goals this season.

The 21-year-old midfielder has been promised John Ryan's car, worth around 50,000 as an incentive to help the League One club earn promotion.

Ryan said: 'There’s method in my madness. If Kyle gets 20 goals, I think two things are likely to happen – he’ll be worth about 2m to 3m in the transfer market and we’re more than likely to be in the Championship, which is worth about 5m to 6m.'

Incentive: Kyle Bennett (right) could be the proud owner of Bentley, if he steps up to the plate

Incentive: Kyle Bennett (right) could be the proud owner of Bentley, if he steps up to the plate

Bennett explained the offer was made to him afer his side beat Walsall 3-0, a game in which he scored in, to make it two for the season. He scored six times last term.

The player said he 'did not want to get carried away' by the offer, before continuing: 'Even if he didn’t offer me the Bentley, I would still be looking to get that on the score sheet.

'It would be nice…There are 44 games to go in the season.

'He hasn’t said it to any other lads, just me. I think he’s said it as an incentive for me to score a few goals.'

Offer: John Ryan is hoping for goals (but maybe not too many)

Offer: John Ryan is hoping for goals (but maybe not too many)

'My aim is to just help get the team promoted to be honest. I think he is probably looking to get a new car anyway.'

It won't be easy though, as the chairman has looked to stop any cheap goals being scored by Bennett.

Ryan added: 'I’ve already told the manager – make sure he doesn’t take penalties.'

Portsmouth problems – club stand on the brink

Welcome to Portsmouth: They've got no goalkeeper, 10 players… and they're all up for sale

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UPDATED:

06:54 GMT, 6 July 2012

When Tal Ben Haim signs in for pre-season training at Portsmouth on Monday, he will set a record for a player in League One.

Earning 36,000 a week, plus an image rights contract worth a staggering 1million a year, the defender is about to become the highest paid player in the third tier of English football.

It is nothing Portsmouth can be proud of, just another damning statistic that continues to numb the brain of the club’s administrator Trevor Birch.

Record breaker: Tal Ben Haim is still being paid 36,000 a week

Record breaker: Tal Ben Haim is still being paid 36,000 a week

Portsmouth have a wage bill that will blow the mind of anyone familiar with League One finances, an 11m-a-year commitment that continues to freak out prospective owner Balram Chainrai.

The 10 highly paid members of Michael Appleton’s squad will drift into their shabby Eastleigh training centre on Monday.

Their first fixture of the season, a Capital One Cup tie at Plymouth, is just five weeks away, and their opening league game is a derby against Bournemouth at Fratton Park on August 18.

Appleton, Portsmouth’s manager throughout the latest crisis to grip the south coast club, has no idea whether he will even be able to field a team. He does not have much to work with. Portsmouth have no goalkeeper, just three defenders, three midfielders and four strikers left.

Uncertain future: Portsmouth will begin the season in League One with a shortage of money and players

Uncertain future: Portsmouth will begin the season in League One with a shortage of money and players

Kanu, twice a Premier League winner with Arsenal, a Champions League winner with Ajax and an FA Cup hero at Fratton Park, has a year left on a contract worth 10,000 a week. Amazingly, he is still only 35.

The other high-earning players, Aaron Mokoena, Greg Halford, Liam Lawrence, Hayden Mullins, David Norris, Erik Huseklepp, Luke Varney and Dave Kitson, are also scheduled to report for training. They are there to fulfil their contractual obligations, but Birch, an honourable and dignified man, must move them on if Portsmouth are to somehow escape the end game.

‘For the club to survive, we have to sell them,’ admitted Birch. ‘They are on wages that are unsustainable at League One level. They are all for sale. We have already made some savings, but it isn’t enough to save the football club.’

Birch is obliged to cut Portsmouth’s catastrophic wage bill, a legacy from an era when they broke the bank in the Premier League with salaries running at 120 per cent of turnover.

Former players, such as Michael Brown, Richard Hughes, Aruna Dindane, Benjani, David Nugent, Hassan Yebda, Ricardo Rocha and David James, are all owed substantial sums of money.

Stripping assets: Trevor Birch has the unenviable task of selling Portsmouth's players

Stripping assets: Trevor Birch has the unenviable task of selling Portsmouth's players

Along with Ben Haim, they are entitled to be paid in full, according to the terms of their contracts under the archaic football creditors’ rule.

Portsmouth’s future depends on them reaching a settlement and Hughes, an ex-professional who is well respected at the club, is the intermediary.

‘We are negotiating with the players, but so much depends on whether an agreement can be reached,’ said Birch. ‘Various proposals have been put forward. The sums of money are so vast that it complicates the matter and the players can always fall back on the football creditors ruling, which means they must get paid.’

Naturally some are more willing to negotiate than others, but Hughes, to his credit, wants to find an equitable solution that will reflect well on the players and the club.

The future of Portsmouth could depend on it and new owner Chainrai has indicated as much. The Hong Kong-based businessman wants to recover the 19m he claims he is owed from his previous complicated ownership of the club, a legacy of Ali al-Faraj’s disastrous involvement in 2010.

Debt: Balram Chainrai is owed 19m

Debt: Balram Chainrai is owed 19m

Two years on, Portsmouth are back in administration and Chainrai has made it clear he will not be pouring money into the club to take them back into the Premier League. On June 25 the club’s creditors agreed to the company voluntary agreement, a paltry two pence return to the pound, that could eventually take the club out of administration.

There is a rival offer from Portsmouth’s
Supporters Trust, mobilised when the club was plunged back into
administration last November. They are supported by 1,000 pledges from
fans and are putting together a package that is designed to keep
Portsmouth in the Football League.

Scott Mclachlan, a PST spokesman, said: ‘We do not want to start again unless the club is liquidated. It is all about saving a club with its 114-year history.’

They are also in the hands of the Football League board, a group comprising eight people who will soon determine Portsmouth’s fate. Without their support, the next stop will be the Blue Square Bet South.

Welcome to Portsmouth: They"ve got no goalkeeper, 10 players… and they"re all up for sale

Welcome to Portsmouth: They've got no goalkeeper, 10 players… and they're all up for sale

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UPDATED:

21:14 GMT, 5 July 2012

When Tal Ben Haim signs in for pre-season training at Portsmouth on Monday, he will set a record for a player in League One.

Earning 36,000 a week, plus an image rights contract worth a staggering 1million a year, the defender is about to become the highest paid player in the third tier of English football.

It is nothing Portsmouth can be proud of, just another damning statistic that continues to numb the brain of the club’s administrator Trevor Birch.

Record breaker: Tal Ben Haim is still being paid 36,000 a week

Record breaker: Tal Ben Haim is still being paid 36,000 a week

Portsmouth have a wage bill that will blow the mind of anyone familiar with League One finances, an 11m-a-year commitment that continues to freak out prospective owner Balram Chainrai.

The 10 highly paid members of Michael Appleton’s squad will drift into their shabby Eastleigh training centre on Monday.

Their first fixture of the season, a Capital One Cup tie at Plymouth, is just five weeks away, and their opening league game is a derby against Bournemouth at Fratton Park on August 18.

Appleton, Portsmouth’s manager throughout the latest crisis to grip the south coast club, has no idea whether he will even be able to field a team. He does not have much to work with. Portsmouth have no goalkeeper, just three defenders, three midfielders and four strikers left.

Uncertain future: Portsmouth will begin the season in League One with a shortage of money and players

Uncertain future: Portsmouth will begin the season in League One with a shortage of money and players

Kanu, twice a Premier League winner with Arsenal, a Champions League winner with Ajax and an FA Cup hero at Fratton Park, has a year left on a contract worth 10,000 a week. Amazingly, he is still only 35.

The other high-earning players, Aaron Mokoena, Greg Halford, Liam Lawrence, Hayden Mullins, David Norris, Erik Huseklepp, Luke Varney and Dave Kitson, are also scheduled to report for training. They are there to fulfil their contractual obligations, but Birch, an honourable and dignified man, must move them on if Portsmouth are to somehow escape the end game.

‘For the club to survive, we have to sell them,’ admitted Birch. ‘They are on wages that are unsustainable at League One level. They are all for sale. We have already made some savings, but it isn’t enough to save the football club.’

Birch is obliged to cut Portsmouth’s catastrophic wage bill, a legacy from an era when they broke the bank in the Premier League with salaries running at 120 per cent of turnover.

Former players, such as Michael Brown, Richard Hughes, Aruna Dindane, Benjani, David Nugent, Hassan Yebda, Ricardo Rocha and David James, are all owed substantial sums of money.

Stripping assets: Trevor Birch has the unenviable task of selling Portsmouth's players

Stripping assets: Trevor Birch has the unenviable task of selling Portsmouth's players

Along with Ben Haim, they are entitled to be paid in full, according to the terms of their contracts under the archaic football creditors’ rule.

Portsmouth’s future depends on them reaching a settlement and Hughes, an ex-professional who is well respected at the club, is the intermediary.

‘We are negotiating with the players, but so much depends on whether an agreement can be reached,’ said Birch. ‘Various proposals have been put forward. The sums of money are so vast that it complicates the matter and the players can always fall back on the football creditors ruling, which means they must get paid.’

Naturally some are more willing to negotiate than others, but Hughes, to his credit, wants to find an equitable solution that will reflect well on the players and the club.

The future of Portsmouth could depend on it and new owner Chainrai has indicated as much. The Hong Kong-based businessman wants to recover the 19m he claims he is owed from his previous complicated ownership of the club, a legacy of Ali al-Faraj’s disastrous involvement in 2010.

Debt: Balram Chainrai is owed 19m

Debt: Balram Chainrai is owed 19m

Two years on, Portsmouth are back in administration and Chainrai has made it clear he will not be pouring money into the club to take them back into the Premier League. On June 25 the club’s creditors agreed to the company voluntary agreement, a paltry two pence return to the pound, that could eventually take the club out of administration.

There is a rival offer from Portsmouth’s
Supporters Trust, mobilised when the club was plunged back into
administration last November. They are supported by 1,000 pledges from
fans and are putting together a package that is designed to keep
Portsmouth in the Football League.

Scott Mclachlan, a PST spokesman, said: ‘We do not want to start again unless the club is liquidated. It is all about saving a club with its 114-year history.’

They are also in the hands of the Football League board, a group comprising eight people who will soon determine Portsmouth’s fate. Without their support, the next stop will be the Blue Square Bet South.

Olivier Giroud set to complete Arsenal deal

Arsenal's 12.8m deal for Giroud is done, now to tie up Van Persie

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UPDATED:

21:00 GMT, 18 June 2012

Arsenal will step up efforts to nail Robin van Persie to a new contract despite the imminent 12.8million signing of Olivier Giroud from Montpellier – a deal Sportsmail exclusively revealed on June 12.

The France forward, 25, is expected to sign a four-year contract worth 45,000 a week and is viewed as a replacement for out-of-favour Marouane Chamakh, who is likely to be sold, rather than Van Persie.

Double deal: Giroud (left) is set to join Arsenal while Van Persie (right) has been offered a new contract

Double deal: Giroud (left) is set to join Arsenal while Van Persie (right) will be offered a new contract

Double deal: Giroud (left) is set to join Arsenal while Van Persie (right) will be offered a new contract

Arsenal remain determined to get their skipper to sign a three-year deal worth 130,000 a week with a 5m loyalty bonus.

Van Persie’s representatives have held two rounds of talks with Arsenal, when the 28-year-old said he was not ready to sign new terms.