Pompey poised for trio’s exit

David Norris is wanted by Leeds and Sheffield Wednesday
David Norris is wanted by Leeds and Sheffield Wednesday
Lassina Diabate made his Pompey debut at Rotherham

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Pompey could receive a crucial boost with three of their players poised to leave by the start of next week.

Luke Varney is homing in on a deal with Leeds, while David Norris is also in advanced talks with the Elland Road club and Sheffield Wednesday.

In addition, Michael Appleton believes Aaron Mokoena’s departure to South African side Bidvest Wist is ‘close’.

The potential exit of all three would be absolutely vital in driving down the Blues’ £9.5m wage bill.

Not only would it bring the club closer to a takeover, it would also allow the Football League to loosen the recruitment constraints on Appleton.

As it stands, the trio are among the 10 senior players pencilled in for Monday’s return to pre-season training.

Yet Appleton is hopeful they may have already left the club when it comes to meeting up at Eastleigh.

He told The News: ‘I know Luke and David are close to agreeing moves elsewhere.

‘If that is the case, they may not be here when the players come back on Monday. To be honest, that is not something I would mind, either.

‘I believe Luke has been talking with Leeds. Whether that will happen this weekend or next week we’ll have to see.

‘David is also in discussions with a Championship club and I would be surprised if there weren’t others interested in him.

‘As for Aaron, we have been very close to that being sorted for a while, but anything can change from hour to hour.

‘At the moment it is close again, that is what I am hearing. If it happens, it happens.

‘I am just going to prepare as if all three are going to be here on Monday. Whether that happens or not I cannot control. But if any of their moves are also complete, I wouldn’t expect to see any of them here.’

The takeover bids of Portpin and the Pompey Supporters’ Trust are conditional on the existing wage bill being slashed by administrator Trevor Birch.

That scenario is the main factor in delaying the arrival of either as owners, leaving the club to continue in administration with the threat of liquidation remaining.

Appleton has also been led to believe by the Football League that exits of big earners would result in the green light being given to start bringing in new players.

As it stands, he is unable to even recruit a goalkeeper, despite not having a single one on the Fratton Park books.

And he is desperate for the trio to finalise their moves in order for the club to progress.

Appleton added: ‘Nothing against the three but them leaving would help this club, without a shadow of a doubt.

‘If they depart it would go a long way to helping my case of bringing players in.

‘And that is something we desperately need.’