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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 July, 2003, 09:57 GMT 10:57 UK
Pompey cool on Berkovic
By Paul Fletcher

Eyal Berkovic
Berkovic is familiar with Redknapp
Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp reckons he may not be able to afford to sign Manchester City midfielder Eyal Berkovic.

The Israeli international handed in a written transfer request at City after speaking to manager Kevin Keegan.

And the player's agent has hinted that Berkovic would relish a move to Portsmouth.

But although Redknapp would be keen to sign the player who he managed during his tenure as boss at West Ham, the Pompey manager said money could prove to be a significant stumbling block.

I like him but whether we can afford him is another matter
Harry Redknapp

"I would be interested," Redknapp told this website. "The problem I have is that Manchester City would want a fee and then there are the players wages to consider.

"At the moment I'm struggling, it would be difficult and there will be nothing happening on Tuesday."

But Redknapp is a fan of Berkovic as a player.

"I had him at West Ham and he is a top-class footballer. I like him but whether we can afford him is another matter.

"There are lots of players I would like to sign but it is a question of cash."

The 31-year-old Israel international has not been offered an extension to the two years he still has left on his City deal.

Berkovic's agent, Pini Zahavi, said on Monday: "Eyal is not happy at the club and his relationship with Kevin Keegan is not good.

"Portsmouth are interested in him as he has an excellent relationship with Harry Redknapp and would be happy to move if the clubs agree a fee."

Keegan admits he will be short of a midfield playmaker if Berkovic leaves the club.

Ali Benarbia quit City last week and has since joined Al-Rayyan of Qatar.

Keegan said: "If something else happens to Eyal we don't have any cover for that creative role, which you need at home more than away."

Berkovic has been plagued by injuries since arriving at the club from Celtic two years ago, and picked up yet another knock in the victory against Feyenoord last Friday.






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