Portsmouth news

Veteran striker Kanu keen on Portsmouth stay

May 23, 2009

FA Cup hero Kanu is adamant he wants to stay at Portsmouth for at least another year - and insists it is entirely up to him whether he does so.

With 15 players out of contract this summer, Pompey are expected to make radical cuts having just survived relegation from the Premier League a year after their Wembley triumph in which Kanu scored the winner against Cardiff.

Captain Sol Campbell, midfielder Sean Davis and defender Hermann Hreidarsson are among those with uncertain futures even if, as Pompey executive chairman Peter Storrie has predicted, the club has new financiers in July following owner Alexandre Gaydamak's decision to make no more personal investment.

Kanu, 32, is also coming to the end of his latest one-year deal but is convinced he is entitled to a new one under the terms of the contract which stipulates he must make a certain number of first-team appearances during the campaign.

Because Kanu has made only five starts this season, many are under the impression he has fallen short but if he plays any part in Pompey's final game of the season at Wigan on Sunday it will be his 25th appearance in all competitions.

He said: "Yes, I'm qualified for another contract. That is what it says in this present contract and hopefully I will be here next year because that is what I want.

"I love being at the club, playing for the team and playing for the supporters who are the best there is. It is in my hands whether to stay here and I hope that is what will happen."

Pompey, unsurprisingly, will not comment on the terms of Kanu's deal and even his agent and lawyer Samuel Okoronkwo said: "It would not be ethical for me to discuss it but you can take it from me that Kanu is still a Portsmouth player."

Whatever happens - and Kanu has spent every summer since his arrival on a free transfer from West Brom in August 2006 negotiating for a new deal - the lanky Nigerian will have at least one more game at Fratton Park.

On Bank Holiday Monday afternoon it will be the scene of his latest match in aid of the Kanu Heart Foundation, the charity he set up to raise money to provide treatment for sick children in Africa four years after the discovery in 1996 of his own heart defect.

Kanu, then at Inter Milan, had surgery which enabled him to continue a glittering career with a £4.5m move to Arsenal. Now his aim is to see that youngsters with the same problem have the same chance to fulfil their lives.

Two previous end-of-season matches at Pompey have already raised thousands of pounds and this time stars like Lassana Diarra, Emmanuel Adebayor, Kolo Toure, Sulley Muntari and Benjani Mwaruwari are among the star-studded line-ups.

"The Foundation means everything to me and we have done some great work but the waiting lists for treatment are long and we have to continue," Kanu said. "The aim is to play these matches every year whether it is at Portsmouth or somewhere else."