Manchester City boss Kevin Keegan has told Israeli midfielder Eyal Berkovic that he is free to leave the club if he receives an offer from another team.
"Eyal needs to go. He needs to play football and I need to reduce the number of midfield players in my squad." Keegan said yesterday.
The Manchester Evening News reported that Berkovic was set to leave City in a 500,000 pound deal that would take the 31-year-old midfielder to injury-plagued Portsmouth, whose coach, Harry Redknapp, worked with Berkovic at West Ham.
Keegan confirmed that Portsmouth had made an approach for Berkovic. "At the moment, it is just an initial inquiry, but we will see what develops," Keegan said.
Berkovic is reported to have agreed to a cut in his 28,000 pound a week wage package, which has been a major obstacle to a move. Berkovic is said to be willing to make do with 22,000 a week in exchange for a two-and-a-half year contract.
Berkovic, cost City 1.5 million pounds when Keegan signed him from Celtic in 2001. Despite being a pivotal member of the team last year, the midfielder has started just one Premiership game this season, since which he has not played at all, even though City have gone 11 games without a win.
Berkovic's relationship with Keegan soured during the summer, when the player's demand for a contract extension was rejected and he handed in a transfer request. Although the transfer request was subsequently withdrawn, the Israel international has been unable to force his way into Keegan's plans. With Blackburn and Spurs also in the hunt for midfield reinforcements, Berkovic seems to have played his last game for City.
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now