D-Day looms for Ben Haim

Tal Ben Haim in conversation with Michael Brown
Tal Ben Haim in conversation with Michael Brown
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Tal Ben Haim’s controversial Pompey future is expected to be decided in the ‘next few days’.

That’s the verdict of his agent Pini Zahavi, who has told The News the on-going deadlock is finally on the verge of ending.

The news comes amid reports that Pompey tried to suspend Ben Haim from training with them.

But the allegation has been strenuously denied by both the Blues and Zahavi.

Ben Haim trained with the rest of the Pompey first-team squad at their Eastleigh base on Tuesday and is expected to attend today in the build-up for Saturday’s visit of Barnsley.

The fact remains, though, that his West Ham loan spell officially ended on January 8.

But despite still being employed by Pompey as the club’s highest wage earner, he has not been available for any of their matches at any level since May 9, 2010.

Meanwhile, the Hammers have reiterated the Israeli defender is back with Pompey and is no longer their concern.

It means the unsatisfactory situation continues to rumble on.

And, on a reputed salary of £36,000-a-week, it is an impasse the Blues understandably can’t afford to allow to drag on much longer.

Ben Haim has made it clear he does not want to play for Steve Cotterill’s side again.

On the other side of the table, chief executive David Lampitt is eager to thrash out a resolution for the good of the club.

But 28-year-old Ben Haim remains at Fratton Park with almost two-and-a-half years left on the contract he signed in September 2009.

As far as Zahavi is concerned, however, a compromise is almost at hand.

He said: ‘We will know in the next few days what is happening.

‘There is no problem, it will happen very soon.

‘It is rubbish that Tal has been suspended. Why would he have been suspended?

‘We will know soon.’

Pompey have been desperate to off-load Ben Haim since the summer.

He largely failed to convince during his 24 Blues appearances.

A groin injury kept him out for two months, although he returned shortly before the FA Cup final with Chelsea.

The former Bolton central-defender was one of a number of Premier League earners targeted by former administrator Andrew Andronikou for removal from the wage bill.

Andronikou admitted at the time he was struggling to find a club willing to match his existing Blues pay packet.

In the end, a deal was agreed for Avram Grant to take his Israeli compatriot on a five-month loan with a view to a permanent move.

Ben Haim went on to make 12 appearances for the Hammers this season before returning to Fratton Park last month.

Now Lampitt is seeking to reach an agreement as soon as possible.

‘We are hoping to resolve the situation as soon as we can,’ said Lampitt.

Ben Haim was unavailable for comment when The News contacted him.