Having waited up until after midnight on Thursday to try and ensure I got confirmation of all of our transfer news before finishing posting up, I decide to call it a day shortly after, safely assuming that the Benjani deal was not yet announced but would be confirmed shortly and I'd pick the details up in the morning.
The morning brought news only that the transfer had not gone through, with time simply running out before we could get the deal completed, with only a brief statement from the club announcing this.
Having signed Jermaine Defoe from Tottenham - presumably financed in part by the Benjani move, Portsmouth were indeed disgruntled, stating they had confirmation from ourselves that the papers were being faxed off only to then be informed that not all the relevant documentation had been received.
There were then noises from Portsmouth that they had been in contact with league officials and were hopefully of still getting the deal through, but perhaps tellingly at this stage there was no official word from ourselves backing this up or confirming we were hopeful of completing the transfer - only reports coming out
of planes being missed, late arrivals and even of failed medicals. There were also whispers that the elements of the transfer fee may have been channeled to parties that the club were not entirely happy with, and it could be that there is a definite divide within the hierarchy of the club with certain factions not happy to sanction the deal.
Being a cynic at times, I was of the opinion yesterday that the club were not too displeased that the transfer had not gone through and may have even played a part in pulling the plug in some way, and personally I was not overly concerned the deal did not go through.
I was not overly convinced that signing Benjani was a great move. Admittedly, he has posted a decent tally this season and does look a far better player than the one who struggled terribly when he first arrived in the Premier League. But, for me, he is too hit and miss as a player to be worth the £7 - 9 million that was touted as the fee and whilst Sven no doubt worked hard to bring in players, I do think better players will be available in the summer.
Today though. both Sven
have spoken of their desire to get the deal concluded, with Sven saying "I want him here and he wants to come, I strongly believe that, I can't speak to him directly until he is a Manchester City player but that is what I believe. A lot has been said and written by people who don't know the facts. Something will happen on Monday or Tuesday."
There has been a precedent of course with the William Gallas-Ashley Cole transfer being completed after the midnight deadline, and if the Premier League are satisfied there was intent to complete the deal it is quite possible they may sanction the transfer and Benjani will join the club after all.
Following the Arsenal game yesterday, it is increasingly clear with each passing match that we do need something different up front as we are really struggling at the moment and it seriously threatening to derail the season at quite a crucial stage.
Benjani may not be the preferred option to many, but if the deal does go through he will at least offer something different to what is available at the moment and is a more potent weapon than what we have. If the deal doesn't go through, Sven will need to come up with a different approach than what is being tried at the moment.