TREVOR BIRCH has confirmed that Tal Ben Haim has agreed to leave Pompey - a deal that takes the club another step closer towards securing its future.
The Israeli was locked in talks with advisers and representatives from Portpin into the early hours of this morning, after the pre-season friendly win at AFC Wimbledon, in a bid to strike a compromise deal on his outstanding contract that threatened to see Pompey liquidated.
But in a statement, club administrator Trevor Birch announced that the former Chelsea man had now accepted a pay-off and Birch also revealed that Liam Lawrence’s future could soon be finalised.
In a statement, Birch said: ‘I am pleased to announce that we have reached a compromise agreement with Tal Ben Haim, who will now leave the club.
‘We expect to make an announcement on Liam Lawrence’s future later today and, whilst the situation with Kanu has not yet been resolved, we are cautiously optimistic about our prospects.
‘The progress that we have made over the past 24 hours means that there is now a much better prospect of meeting the conditions of the CVA, completing the sale of the club and avoiding liquidation.’
Birch, who set the deadline for Friday for a deal to be agreed to seal Pompey’s future, appears to now be open to extending that deadline with some of the major obstacles cleared.
He continued: ‘As a result, we will now push on with our negotiations with Portpin, with a view to finalising a deal in the next few days.
‘There is still more to do, and the club’s future is not yet guaranteed, but we’re in a stronger position and will now take some additional time to try to conclude matters.’
Former Pompey administrator Andrew Andronikou has been in charge of trying to get the players – as secured footballing creditors – paid every penny of the money they have been owed since the club first went into administration in 2010.
He said: ‘I am glad that this saga is finally coming to a close.
‘For the last three to four months I have been working to get the players out of the club.
‘I want the club to survive.
‘The administrators have done nothing to send out positive messages to the world about the club. All the talk is about liquidation.
‘There are no other obstacles in place for a takeover bid to be sealed now.
‘This has dragged on for far too long.’
The deal comes after a host of players including Greg Halford, David Norris, Erik Huseklepp and Dave Kitson sacrificed money owed to them and left the club in recent weeks.
Kanu initially wanted £300,000 to rip up the final year of his contract but while he has left the club, talks are still ongoing to reach a final agreement on that figure.