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The British press yesterday reported extensively on Eyal Berkovic's decision to hand a transfer request to Manchester City. Berkovic is unhappy at the club's decision not to extend his contract which has two years to run.

The Sun said Berkovic had turned his back on City and thrown manager Kevin Keegan's pre-season plans into turmoil.

Premier League newcomers Portsmouth appeared to be the leading candidates to pick up the Israel international midfielder. Portsmouth coach Harry Redknap, who was Berkovic's boss at West Ham had chased the player all summer, but yesterday said that Berkovic was probably too expensive for him.

"I would be interested. The problem I have is that Manchester City would want a fee and then there are the wages to consider," Redknap told the BBC.

Another of Berkovic's former bosses, Blackburn Rovers coach Graeme Souness could also be in the running for Berkovic. However if the itinerant player who has been with Southhampton, West Ham, Blackburn and Celtic as well as Manchester City during his career in Britain, is counting on his former coaches for a new job, he may be out of luck. Redknap and Souness made midfield signings yesterday.

Portsmouth signed Serbian midfielder Dejan Stefanovic for 2.65 million pounds and Blackburn bought Irish midfielder Steven Reid for 2.5 million.

Meanwhile, Keegan's midfield woes continued to mount yesterday. After losing Ali Benarbia and with Berkovic set to leave he had his 4.5 million offer rejected for Lens midfielder Antoine Siberski.