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James puzzled by rumours

Goalkeeper has never known a stranger transfer window

James: Baffled by speculation

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Portsmouth goalkeeper David James has admitted he has never known a stranger January transfer window.

Lassana Diarra agreed a switch to Real Madrid before the window opened and Jermain Defoe sealed a return to Tottenham earlier this week.

Speculation has suggested that a number of other players could be set to leave Fratton Park and James concedes he has been puzzled by the rumours.

Portsmouth have not been linked with moves for many players but James believes joining the FA Cup winners would be an attractive proposition for anybody.

"This is the strangest transfer window I have ever experienced. It's the first time I've been at a club where the rumours are all about who is going rather than who is coming in," James wrote in his column for The Observer.

"Even at West Ham when we were bottom of the table over the Christmas period, I don't remember much gossip about anyone leaving the club.

"It is pretty surreal for Portsmouth too. In recent times we've gone from relegation dodgers to FA Cup winners playing in Europe - that's the kind of ambitious club most people want to join, not leave.

"But anyone reading the headlines would be led into thinking otherwise. In fact, probably the only symmetry between this year's transfer window and last are the names Harry Redknapp and Jermain Defoe."

Difficult task

James hopes manager Tony Adams is able to strengthen his squad before the end of the month as Portsmouth look to bounce back from a poor run of results.

He explained: "At the moment we're not being linked with players coming in, which is a worry.

"Couple that with a string of disappointing performances and Tony Adams faces a difficult task to steady the ship.

"In order to keep the confidence of the dressing room and the fans, he's got to talk about the kind of players he wants to bring in. But that is a risky strategy - for one thing it can inflate the prices if agents know you have money to spend."

James added: "Portsmouth's next two games will be crucial, defending our FA Cup against Bristol City, and then facing Jermain and Tottenham next weekend in the league.

"We will be hoping to regain our form on the pitch, but it is also clear that in times such as these the tactics used off the field will be as important as the ones used on it."