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Chelsea out to maul Black Cats

Chelsea 15 hours ago
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By ESPN Staff
Dec 19, 2006

Portsmouth line-up January swoop for Wright-Phillips

Portsmouth have admitted they would be interested in enticing Chelsea winger Shaun Wright-Phillips to Fratton Park in next month's transfer window.

The adopted son of former Arsenal marksman Ian Wright cost Chelsea £21million from Manchester City last season but has started only 19 games for the Barclays Premiership champions - and just 13 in the league.

Although Chelsea have been accused of signing Wright-Phillips just to prevent rivals such as Arsenal and Liverpool snapping him up, Pompey have now confirmed they are interested in bringing him to the south coast where former Blues team-mate Glen Johnson is on loan for the season.

Speculation has linked Wright-Phillips with a loan move next month - even though he recently asked 'Why would I want to leave Chelsea?'

But the 25-year-old has found a starting place hard to come by at Stamford Bridge which has diluted his England opportunities and resulted in him missing the World Cup in Germany in the summer.

Now Portsmouth chief executive Peter Storrie admits: 'We are considering various options for strengthening next month. We are looking at names, drawing up lists and, of course, we would consider a player of Shaun Wright-Phillips' ability.

'But it is a matter of what he wants to do and what Chelsea want to do. He is Chelsea's player.'

Manager Harry Redknapp has already said, however, that a pacy winger is top of his list in January as well as at least two other new signings and has every confidence in new owner Alexandre Gaydamak putting up the money.

Former Pompey chairman Milan Mandaric has told the Portsmouth News: 'Sacha will do his very best for the club. You have only got to see what he has spent already to know that.

'He wants to take the club forward and I believe he is the man to do it.'

Mandaric's words suggest property magnate Gaydamak, 30, has paid up the final instalment of the fee to seal his takeover, believed to be worth a total of £32million.

Benfica's Portugal midfielder Manuel Fernandes will be sent home in January after it transpired he would cost £12million if Pompey wanted to permanently sign the on-loan star.

Yet Redknapp insists: 'The owner is ambitious to do well here and I know that if I want two or three signings next month he will be there for me.'

Redknapp, who was scouting at a French league match on Sunday, has already been linked with Toulouse midfielder Achille Emana, St Etienne striker Fridiric Piquionne and Auxerre defender Younes Kaboul.

Nearer home, centre backs Sylvain Distin (Manchester City), Titus Bramble (Newcastle) and Curtis Davies (West Brom) appear to have attracted his attention.

Redknapp has spent under £5million in the transfer market this season although the arrivals of Sol Campbell, David James and the like have spiralled Pompey's wages bill.

He added: 'I will only pay the right money to bring people in - not just for the sake of it.'