Redknapp still chasing Campbell's signature

July 31, 2006

Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp has renewed his bid to bring Sol Campbell to Fratton Park - but admits it may end in failure.

Redknapp, who expressed an interest in the 31-year-old defender as soon as it became known that Arsenal were prepared to release him, met the player in London over the weekend.

But Redknapp admitted: 'Sol has got plenty of offers at home and abroad.

'He will make up his mind soon and he knows all about Pompey and what we've got to offer, but I couldn't do more to convince him than buy him a glass of mineral water.

'Everybody knows we've got to invest to improve our squad for next season. We are short of quality still and Sol would be just the man to do a big job for us.

'But I honestly still can't say what he will do.'

A problem for Portsmouth could be Campbell's wages, as he was a high earner at Arsenal, who freed him at the end of last season.

Turkish club Fenerbahce and French side Marseille have also been linked with moves for Campbell.

Redknapp has been given money to spend by new owner Alexandre Gaydamak this summer, but he has so far secured just two new signings - right-back Glen Johnson on a one-season loan from Chelsea and former Liverpool and Blackburn midfielder David Thompson on a free transfer.

Portsmouth are also tracking Manchester City's French centre-back Sylvain Distin, but Middlesbrough are also thought to be keen and may be favourites if Stuart Pearce opts to sell.

Redknapp had a £4million bid turned down by Aston Villa for Gareth Barry two weeks ago and may return with an improved offer, however the uncertainty regarding Villa's future could prevent a deal going through in the near future.

Redknapp could still make a major investment in Portuguese 21-year-old Manuel Fernandes.

Although a £10million move for the Benfica midfielder seemed on the point of collapse when he was sent back to the Lisbon club after failing a medical, he is now back on the south coast as Portsmouth monitor his recovery from a groin injury.

Fernandes will now look to build up his fitness under the watchful eye of Portsmouth physio Gary Sadler, with the club unwilling to take any risks.

Fernandes watched his prospective new team-mates crash to a pre-season 2-1 defeat at Southend last week.

Redknapp said: 'Of course I still want him here, he is a good player. He would be suited to playing English football and he would be an asset to us. He is an interesting footballer.'

Portsmouth will split their first-team squad for friendlies at Havant and Waterlooville tomorrow and Dorchester Town on Wednesday.