Sun, Feb 03, 2008 - Page 22 News List

Zimabawe striker Benjani marooned in no-man's land

AFP , LONDON

Zimbabwe's Benjani Mwaruwari found himself marooned in no-man's land on Friday after his proposed deadline-day transfer from Portsmouth to Manchester City hit the buffers.

Benjani, the third top scorer in the Premier League with 12 goals, has found himself unwanted by both clubs.

The Press Association claimed that City officials got cold feet on the £7.6 million (US$15.1 million) transfer, after the player turned up several hours late having missed two flights to Manchester and tried to abort the deal.

Portsmouth, however, claim the paperwork had all gone through and that the 29-year-old should be a City player.

They were hoping to use the fee to cover the cost of bringing in England striker Jermain Defoe from Tottenham, a deal they secured in the last minutes of the transfer window on Thursday.

The Premier League are investigating, but a decision will now have to wait until tomorrow.

"If Benji is back we'll just have to see where we go with that one. He's a good player and we didn't want to lose him but we had to try to balance the books," Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp said.

ALVES PROTEST FILED

AFP, THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS

Dutch top flight outfit AZ 67 Alkmaar are to file a protest with FIFA over the contract Brazilian Alfonso Alves has signed with English Premier League side Middlesbrough, insisting they have a claim on the player.

"We have a totally valid contract with Alves and we want to make that clear with FIFA. FIFA will then judge what should happen," said Alkmaar spokesman Klaas Wilting, who did not rule out legal action.

"The contract we have is clear: Alves must come to Alkmaar," he said, adding that "you can't sign two contracts."

Alves was playing for another Dutch side, Heerenveen, but was to have moved on to Alkmaar after signing a contract with them.

However, on Thursday, the Dutch Football Federation gave the player the green light to join Boro as he was no longer registered with Heerenveen and not registered with Alkmaar either.

He has signed a four-year deal with Middlesbrough with reports indicating a fee in the region of 16 million euros (US$23.7 million).

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