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Portsmouth do not need to sell players says Mark Jacob

Portsmouth have endured a torrid season on and off the pitch
Portsmouth have endured a torrid season on and off the pitch

Portsmouth executive director Mark Jacob insists there will be no fire sale of players by the cash-strapped club in the January transfer window.

Jacob told BBC Radio Solent: "I can assure fans that won't happen.

"But, quite clearly every player has their price, and if Avram (Grant) feels there are players surplus to requirements then we will support him."

And a week after they should have been paid, the Pompey players have finally received their December wages.

The estimated £3m monthly wage bill should have gone out on 31 December, but the club advised their players that the payments would be processed on 5 January.

That deadline was missed, as was another on Wednesday, ensuring that for a third month this season the players' wages had been delayed, although the club did pay non-playing staff their December wages on Monday.

Portsmouth have debts of £60m, face a winding-up petition from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and are operating under a transfer embargo imposed by the Premier League because of their transfer debts to other clubs.

Dubai businessman Sulaiman al-Fahim bought the club in August before rapidly selling a 90% stake to Saudi businessman Ali Al Faraj, but the promised significant investment has not materialised and fans are planning to continue protests about the club's problems.

Earlier this week Portsmouth chief executive Peter Storrie had warned that players might have to be sold for financial reasons.

"If the way to keep this club alive is to sell a couple of players again, we will have to do that - but it will be an owner's decision," he said.

"If you do not sell, then you could well be going into administration."

The club have asked for HMRC'S winding up petition to be withdrawn and on Thursday Jacob said he was confident the transfer embargo will be lifted.

"The fact is that meetings have taken place with the Premier League and they have been very supportive throughout," he said.

606: DEBATE

"As long as we can demonstrate to them we are able to deal with our obligations, I see no reason why the embargo won't be lifted.

"There's a short term, medium and long term plan here. We are merely at phase one. It's only been three months (since Ali al-Faraj bought the club), if you were to talk to me in a year's time things will be vastly different I believe.

"I want to assure fans that they should be confident of the team we are putting in place going forward and to thank them for their continued support."

On Monday, it was revealed that the Premier League is set to use Portsmouth's share of the latest television monies to pay off the club's debts to other top-flight and European sides.

Chelsea and Tottenham as well as French clubs Lens and Rennes are all owed money by Pompey and the Premier League will split £7m between them.

The action is allowed within league rules to protect clubs who are owed money from transfers.

Meanwhile, Portsmouth are considering recalling striker David Nugent from his loan spell with Burnley, but their transfer embargo means they cannot extend Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Jamie O'Hara's loan.



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