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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Dec 5, 2007

Harry prepared to let Taylor leave Pompey

Unsettled Matt Taylor has been told he can leave Portsmouth - but only for 'the right price.' And skipper Sol Campbell believes it would be 'suicidal' if Pompey released any of their fringe first-teamers in next month's transfer window - when the club will lose four top stars to the African Nations Cup finals in Ghana. Campbell insists: 'Hopefully lessons have been learned from last season when no real money was spent in January. It would be bad if we let some of the squad go and then no new players came in this time - although I can't see that happening.' Manager Harry Redknapp has admitted he will not stand in Taylor's way if the former Luton player wants to leave and the right offer comes in. Taylor, 26, played a major part in Pompey's escape from relegation two seasons ago and was top midfield goalscorer with nine last term, but he has already seen regular midfield partner Gary O'Neil sold to Middlesbrough in August as surplus to requirements.. And with the arrival of Pompey's new African talent including Papa Bouba Diop and Sulley Muntari and the emergence of left-sided Croatia star Niko Kranjcar as a key man, Taylor has not made a Premier League start since the 3-1 defeat at Arsenal in September - and only three in all. Redknapp told the Portsmouth News: 'I know how he feels. He is a very good player and I want to keep him here but if a big offer comes in I wouldn't stand in his way. 'Matty is a good lad who trains hard and gives everything and if he was happy with just being on the bench and playing in the reserves I wouldn't want him here with that attitude anyway.' Reading and Fulham have already been linked but Taylor, who can also play left back, would command upwards of a £4million transfer fee. And centre-back Campbell, who has led Pompey to sixth place, insists: 'We'll lose a few guys for a month or six weeks to the African Nations but we have great people who can fill in, great pros and it won't hit us that much. 'But we will also need a couple of new players, at least, for sure and what we can't afford is to lose a couple of the ones we've got. We have a better quality squad this season and to let some of them go would be suicidal, I think.' Redknapp's dilemma, though, is that midfielders Pedro Mendes - who only played against Everton last Saturday because of Sean Davis's hamstring injury - Taylor and Richard Hughes are all unhappy playing just bit-parts. Full backs Lauren and Djimi Traore, brought in during the transfer window last January, have also been unable to find regular places in the side this season and £6million summer signing David Nugent has rarely been more than a substitute. The manager admits: 'When the African Cup comes around I'll have a squad of only 14 players capable of playing at Premier League level. That's all.' Redknapp spent around £30million in the summer improving his squad and launched a major recruitment drive for African players even though he knew he would lose most of them for the Nations Cup event. He continued: 'I may have to look in the lower divisions where I got people like Matty Holmes (for West Ham) and Richard Hughes a few seasons back - or maybe get a few on loan.' Meanwhile Nigeria's head coach Berti Vogts is reported to be hinting that only players who turn up two weeks before the start of the Nations Cup to attend his 14-day training camp will be selected to play in the competition. Pompey are ready to fight former German defence star Vogts' early-release bid for Kanu and Utaka with an appeal to FIFA but the ex-Scotland manager's new ultimatum could stretch the players' loyalty.

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