Rovers close on Nelsen deal
By Chris Stanton
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Portsmouth target Ryan Nelsen's Blackburn future could be secured shortly.
Portsmouth target Ryan Nelsen's Blackburn future could be secured before the sides' opening day Premiership clash this weekend.
Blackburn chairman John Williams has confirmed that contract talks between Rovers and Nelsen are progressing, and the two parties are hopeful of making an announcement shortly.
Nelsen has been the subject of great interest from Portsmouth, who have seen three separate bids rebuffed by Rovers - with the latest offer believed to have exceeded £5 million.
Any transfer would represent a huge profit on a player manager Mark Hughes signed on a free transfer from DC United just 18 months ago, but the club are determined not to part with the influential New Zealander.
"Despite the fact Ryan already has a contract which still has a substantial period [two years] to run, we are in the process of offering him a new one and some progress has been made," said Williams.
"If we're going to turn down decent money for him, which we have done, then the emphasis is on us to improve his present deal.
"We believe that's the right and honourable thing to do, so hopefully we'll be in a position to announce something shortly."
Meanwhile, Rovers' new signing Benni McCarthy has been allowed to withdraw from South Africa's friendly squad to face Namibia on Wednesday.
The former Porto striker requested to be omitted by the Bafana Bafana in order to concentrate on preparing for his club debut at Portsmouth on Saturday.
However, Rovers team-mate Aaron Mokoena is available to play in the midweek match at Windhoek - the 25-year-old is expected to resume the international captaincy after a dispute led to his omission under former coach Ted Dumitru.