Benjani row rumbles on
6:34pm Saturday 2nd February 2008 in Sport
Confusion continues to surround the future of striker Benjani Mwaruwari after his botched move from Portsmouth to Manchester City.
The Premier League are attempting to unravel the controversial details of the Zimbabwean's deadline-day dealings - with the bizarre scenario that neither party really want the Premier League's 12-goal third top scorer.
It is understood that City officials got cold feet on the £7.6million 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 Benjani, 29, should be a City player - they have signed Jermain Defoe from Tottenham as a £7million replacement.
The Premier League are investigating with a decision set to be delayed until at least Monday, but both clubs are now negotiating with each other to try to find an acceptable settlement.
A League spokesman said: "We are still examining the paperwork."
Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp said Portsmouth had been contacted by City just before midnight when the transfer window was due to close, adding: "We got the call from them at 11.55pm that their forms had gone through and that's when chief executive Peter Storrie gave the go-ahead for our forms to register Defoe to go through.
"Once their forms were sent, we had to get ours off very quickly. I thought we were struggling for time.
"Their one had dragged on a bit because Benji had a bit of a delay getting there with one thing and another.
"As far as we knew, they sent their forms so I don't see why there should be a problem."
City are insisting the paperwork had not gone through when officials pulled the plug on the deal, and have told the Premier League that Benjani's medical only started at 11.15pm.
Despite misgivings of his club's officials, City manager Sven-Goran Eriksson however said he would still like to see Benjani join his squad.
Eriksson said: "It was a long day and a long night. I went to London to get work permits for Benjani and (Felipe) Caicedo and came back to Manchester at 5.30pm and was supposed to go ahead to see Benjani.
"I really don't know exactly what's happening. We will have to wait and see what's coming.
"Of course I hope it will go through I would like to have him in the squad, yes."