Town agree £750,000 fee for Matt
IPSWICH have agreed a cut-price £750,000 deal with Portsmouth for skipper Matt Holland.Portman Road chairman David Sheepshanks has been left frustrated in his attempt to collect more cash for the 29-year-old midfielder.
By Mel Henderson
IPSWICH have agreed a cut-price £750,000 deal with Portsmouth for skipper Matt Holland.
Portman Road chairman David Sheepshanks has been left frustrated in his attempt to collect more cash for the 29-year-old midfielder.
Holland's current deal, worth £20,000 a week and with three years still to run, has proved a major stumbling block.
The Pompey transfer means Town will pocket £50,000 LESS than they handed over to Bournemouth for Holland six years ago.
While Holland's departure will not come as a shock, the vast majority of supporters will be sad to see him on his way.
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He established a close rapport with the fans, who voted him Player of the Year last season.
Premiership new boys Portsmouth have seen off competition from south coast rivals Southampton, who also declared an interest in the Republic of Ireland international.
A deal is still some way off being finalised according to the player's agent, Jonathan Barnett.
"We are still miles away from agreeing anything with Portsmouth," said Barnett today.
"As things stand right now, Matt is still an Ipswich player and I cannot see that changing in the near future.
"He is currently on duty with the Republic of Ireland and is then planning a holiday with his family.
"But we have informed him of Portsmouth's interest and he has indicated he would be interested in going there. Matt wants to play in the Premiership."
If he can agree personal terms Holland will be reunited with Harry Redknapp, who was West Ham boss when the player launched his career there.
Redknapp wanted the player to sign a new contract at Upton Park, but Holland instead opted to join Bournemouth and play regular first team football.
His value soared to £10million less than a year ago when he starred in Ireland's brave World Cup
campaign in the Far East.
That was the price tag slapped on him by then Ipswich boss George Burley, although the cash-strapped club were forced to accept an offer of £4m from Aston Villa in August.
Holland rejected that move but it was always felt that he would depart in the summer after a remarkable record of missing just one league game in six years at Portman Road.
The Bury-born star is currently preparing for his adopted country's Euro 2004 qualifiers against Albania and Georgia in Dublin on June 7 and 11.
Portsmouth chairman Milan Mandaric admitted: "We are talking to one or two players, one of whom is Matt Holland, but we are still some way off signing him."
Meanwhile, Ipswich are set to complete a deal for Burnley defender Drissa Diallo later today, when the Football League is expected to lift the Portman Road transfer embargo.
Diallo, a 30-year-old Guinean international defender, was in town for talks on Monday and has already undergone a medical. He will sign a two-year contract.
Town boss Joe Royle said: "Drissa is a big, solid defender who is quick and good in the air. He is exactly what we need after conceding too many soft goals last season."
Diallo made his Burnley debut against Ipswich at Turf Moor in January after a move from Belgian club Mechelen, who went into liquidation.
Royle added: "I knew nothing about him until then, but he was outstanding against us. I asked our scouts to track him and all I ever received were good reports."