David James Offered New Portsmouth FC Contract

Ed WymanCorrespondent IMay 19, 2010

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 15:  Didier Drogba of Chelsea has a word with goalkeepr David James of Portsmouth during the FA Cup sponsored by E.ON Final match between Chelsea and Portsmouth at Wembley Stadium on May 15, 2010 in London, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Portsmouth FC have offered David James a new contract.

His contract at the club expires this summer and the England keeper is free to look for another club. However, James will be 40 this summer and Pompey will be keen to keep a player who has led the club magnificently during a difficult time. 

The club have imposed a salary cap of £10,000 a week per player. Just one player meets this criteria, reserve goalkeeper Jamie Ashdown, and he has been released.

Pompey have effectively put the entire squad up for sale. Any who wish to stay will have to accept wage cuts in order to meet the criteria which forms part of the CVA agreed with creditors. 

This means that David James, Hermann Hreidarsson, Ricardo Rocha and Kanu, all of whom have been offered new contracts, could be key to Portsmouth's campaign next season. 

David James is the most important of all of these.

There is a very real possibility that he could be England's no. one at the World Cup this summer. His age means that there is a chance that he could stay, something that would vastly boost Portsmouth's Championship campaign. 

David James lives in Plymouth and has done for several years. This means that Portsmouth is one of the few "major" clubs he can commute to from his eco-friendly home.

James says next seasons squad will bear "scant resemblance" to this seasons. It's a safe prediction, there could well be a mass exodus as players look to get their careers back on track after a disastrous season and Pompey thin out those who aren't needed.

However, if the likes of James, Rocha, Kanu and Hreidarsson are prepared to stay, a better standard of new players might be persuaded to sign up than otherwise would.

Without these players, Pompey would effectively have nothing more than a youth academy team. 

If this were to be the case, there would be the real possibility of relegation to League One. Considering a few short seasons ago this was a top 10 club with an FA Cup triumph freshly under their belts, the fall would be nothing short of catastrophic.

Players like James, whose equivalents eight years ago in Paul Merson and Steve Stone bought Pompey to the Premier League, could be the key to salvaging a sinking ship.