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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

50-50 Challenge
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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

50-50 Challenge
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By ESPN Staff

Cole camp denies Pearce 'retirement' claims

Andy Cole's representatives have denied claims from Manchester City boss Stuart Pearce that the former England striker threatened to retire unless he was given permission to join Portsmouth.

Cole, 34, signed for Portsmouth for an initial £500,000 last month, and City will double their money depending on the number of appearances he makes for the Fratton Park club.

Pearce stated City were warned Cole could quit the game if he was not allowed to move to the south coast club, who offered him a two-year contract.

Cole had been entering the final year of his City contract, and following the interest from Portsmouth he was offered fresh terms at Eastlands.

However a spokesman for Proactive Sports Management, who act as Cole's agents, told PA Sport: 'It never was the case that either Andy or us on his behalf threatened that he would retire.

'Manchester City had no offer on the table until very late in the 11th hour.

'When they did produce an offer it came nowhere near to matching that made by Portsmouth.'

Cole missed the end of last season after a knee-ligament injury but Pearce had hoped he would be an integral member of his squad in the new campaign.

He only joined City last summer and Pearce was shocked to learn Cole wanted to leave.

'There were suggestions that the player might retire if I didn't let him go,' said Pearce.

'After that was suggested to me what choice did I have?

'In the terms of negotiations it was mentioned that this deal [from Portsmouth] was too good to turn down and it might be a case of the player retiring if we did not agree to the transfer.

'That came from the agent.

'It was a bit disappointing and as soon as you hear that then you just move on and say `right okay'. We decided, myself, the chairman and the chief executive to take the money on the player and move on.'