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James move in trouble over wage disagreement

ESPNsoccernet has been told that the David James deal is not quite dead but that the move has faltered as Stoke are refusing to pay his £40,000-a-week wages.

Tony Pulis confirmed Stoke were looking to sign Portsmouth goalkeeper James on loan until the end of the season, with reports persisting that Bayern Munich are interested in current goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen. The six-month deal had been expected to go through on Friday, but problems emerged and Stoke were said to have pulled the plug.

An insider said: "When a Premier League club loan a player, they pay his wages. Here, Stoke don't want to do that."

ESPNsoccernet understands that Stoke have presented a scaled payment plan in one of the most complex loan proposals ever to have occurred within the Premier League.

Stoke do not want to pay all the player's wages and were looking to withhold payments until James made a certain number of appearances. Another amount would have been paid if Stoke avoided relegation.

Portsmouth would have to underwrite the shortfall - which would amount to them paying a proportion of James' £2 million-a-year salary. Portsmouth have refused, and talks reached a critical stage as Stoke were unable to resolve the matter before the midday deadline for James to make his Stoke debut against Liverpool.

The insider said: "There will be more talks through the afternoon to see if it can be sorted out."

Unless there are compromises, the move looks like being either held up over the weekend or called off completely, and a decision is likely to be made later on Friday.

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