england israel soccer .
(photo credit: ap)
Alexandre Gaydamak announced on Sunday that he plans to sell English Premier League club Portsmouth FC, prompting rumors of a takeover by a group including Israeli super-agent Pini Zahavi.
Gaydamak, the 32-year-old son of Betar Jerusalem owner Arkadi Gaydamak, said he had decided to look for a buyer as he "can no longer invest the time required to oversee the running of the club," putting an end to months of speculation over the future of Portsmouth FC.
According to the Sunday Mirror, Zahavi has been considering buying into fellow Premier League team Newcastle United or Portsmouth.
In an interview published on the club's official Web site, Alexandre stressed that he would not rush into selling Portsmouth and would only allow a buyer to take control if he or she guaranteed to build a new stadium and training ground for the team.
"I think it is only right to consider the sale of the club to a group or individual who can guarantee time and money to ensure the club reaches its true potential," he said.
Since Gaydamak took over, Portsmouth has seen a period of success, winning the English FA Cup last season to qualify for European competition for the first time in its history.
Just last week, Portsmouth was mightily impressive in a 2-2 UEFA Cup draw with AC Milan, with the Italians only salvaging a point via an injury time goal.
On Sunday, Pompey drew 1-1 at West Bromwich Albion to move up to seventh in the Premier League standings.
It has not been an easy time for the club since manager Harry Redknap left for Tottenham Hotspur last month, leaving assistant manager Tony Adams in control.
The announcement of Gaydamak's plans has reinvigorated rumors that former Israel and Chelsea boss Avraham Grant may be in line for a return to Fratton Park, where he spent a year working as director of football.
In his interview, however, Gaydamak said he was happy with Adams's work and considered him the right man for the job.
Alexandre has been involved in his fair share of controversies since buying Portsmouth in mid-2006, most recently when it was reported in the Israeli media in September that his father had provided the money to buy the club.
A Yediot Aharonot article claimed that his father had cited "Soccer abroad: Portsmouth FC in England's top league" among his assets.
However, the English Premier League rejected the claims, saying in a statement it believed Alexandre to be the "ultimate beneficial owner of Portsmouth Football Club."
Arkadi is currently being investigated by French authorities for allegedly illegally selling arms to Angola during the country's civil war in the 1990s.
And in October, the Sunday Times reported that Alexandre had benefited from these sales to the tune of "at least Â£34 million."
He had bought Portsmouth for Â£32m.
These claims were rejected by a Gaydamak spokesman.