Pompey face fresh transfer blow

Tal Ben Haim
Tal Ben Haim
Pompey midfielder Carl Baker Picture: Joe Pepler

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Pompey face the threat of a new transfer embargo over the Tal Ben Haim saga.

The News understands the Blues will be hit with a fresh ban on signing players if the Israeli defender’s claim for unpaid wages is successful.

Ben Haim insists he is owed money by Pompey because the club have not paid his £36,000-a-week wages since he returned from a loan stint with West Ham in January.

The 29-year-old remains in dispute with the Blues, as they look to cancel the remaining two years of the player’s contract.

The issue is set to be resolved next month, with a Football League meeting reported to be scheduled to resolve the problem.

However, there is now the genuine threat that Pompey could be placed under a transfer embargo before that, severely hampering Steve Cotterill’s plans for a much-needed recruitment drive.

The Blues boss currently has just eight players to call on for the new campaign.

Pompey were placed under a transfer embargo last year after going into administration and have needed all their transfer dealings to be agreed by the Football League ever since coming out of that in October.

Cotterill is due to sit down with new the club’s new owners, Convers Sports Initiatives (CSI), this week to discuss his transfer plans.

The pressure is now on to move quickly, with just 18 days until the players return for pre-season training

Ben Haim has long been off limits to the Pompey boss, with Cotterill told the defender is unavailable for selection.

The former Chelsea and Manchester City player has continued to train with his team-mates each day, however.

His agent, Pini Zahavi, insists Ben Haim is still keen to play for Pompey.

He wants to see new owners CSI sort the issue.

Zahavi told The News: ‘Let’s hope the new owners are more realistic than the old ones.

‘Tal is more than happy to stay at Portsmouth.

‘He is happy to remain at the club and help them to push towards getting promotion.

‘It’s been a tough time for him, very tough, but he just wants to play football.

‘The manager has no problem with him and Tal has no problem with the manager.

‘The manager likes him and he never creates any kind of problem. But they are not paying Tal.’

Both Pompey and the Football League were unavailable for comment last night.

Meanwhile, the Blues’ hopes of landing Jason Shackell from Barnsley were today fading.

Derby are now in the box seat to land the defender in a £1m deal.

Cotterill was keen on boosting his options with a move for the 27-year-old, who is also attracting interest from Burnley and Hull.

He spoke to the Tykes’ player of the season last week despite still not being able to seal deals. But Shackell now appears to be favouring a move to the Rams, who have already had two bids for his services turned down.