Pompey pull out of Petrov race
By Tom Adams
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Milan Mandaric has admitted defeat in his attempts to sign Celtic star Stilian Petrov.
Portsmouth chairman Milan Mandaric has admitted defeat in his attempts to sign Celtic star Stilian Petrov.
The South Coast side have been hoping to prise the Bulgarian midfielder from the Scottish champions after the player made clear his desire to leave Celtic Park by requesting a transfer on multiple occasions.
However, The Bhoys have shown no inclination to sell the 27-year-old, and Pompey, still keen to recruit new faces using Alexandre Gaydamak's millions, have again failed with a renewed bid reportedly worth nearly £7 million.
After the latest snub from Gordon Strachan's side, Mandaric has now admitted the South Coast outfit will be withdrawing their interest with just eight days to go before the transfer deadline closes.
"Unfortunately we have to look for someone else," Mandaric told the Daily Record.
"The transfer window is going to close very soon and, with all due respect, Celtic are being unreasonable with their demands.
"We have tried everything possible to make this deal happen but I don't want to get involved in talking about numbers or how many offers we have made.
"All I will say is I don't think Celtic have any intention of letting him go to us or to anyone else.
"If they needed the money from his sale to buy in other players then they would have been more reasonable with us.
"Instead, all they have done is increase and increase their demands.
"There is now nothing more we can do. We rate him highly and we wanted him but we now have to move on."
Premiership rivals Aston Villa, led by former Bhoys boss Martin O'Neill, are also keen on Petrov, but the Ulsterman says he too has a limit on how much he could spend on the talented midfielder.
"I have inquired," admitted O'Neill.
"We have a certain budget here between now and the transfer deadline. I am obviously going to try to utilise that to the best of my ability.
"I'd love to say more but I'm not really in that fantastic position yet. I can't say how high I would go."
One player who could be arriving at Celtic Park is Wolverhampton Wanderers defender Lee Naylor, as The Bhoys are close to agreeing a player-plus-cash deal for the long-serving left back.
With £600,000 and one of Charlie Mulgrew, Stephen Pearson and Ross Wallace potentially arriving at Molineux, Wolves boss Mick McCarthy says he believes a deal will be clinched soon.
"We are in discussions and we are probably at a stage where it is acceptable," said McCarthy.
"We are kind of just waiting to finalise a deal."
Celtic are also continuing to haggle over a deal for Stuttgart striker Danijel Ljuboja, with the Serbian star holding out for an increase in personal terms after the two clubs reached agreement over a reported £2 million fee.