Aaron Mokoena’s settlement demands have stalled his Pompey exit and landed another massive blow in the club’s bid to slash the wage bill.
The 31-year-old has been lined-up with a switch to South African side Bidvest Wits.
Yet the former Blues skipper is demanding more than £600,000 to rip up the final 12 months of his contract.
Part of the compromise agreement tabled by Trevor Birch includes money owed to Mokoena from his time at Fratton Park.
It is a sum he is entitled to and would be paid back over a period of time.
In addition, though, The Axe wants to be compensated for the full remainder of his contract – which is now around £10,000-a-week after a relegation clause saw his wage reduced.
Birch is adamant the club cannot meet such demands, describing the situation as a ‘stalemate’.
It sees Mokoena join Tal Ben Haim and Kanu – with all three unable to reach a compromise agreement as Pompey remain in dire financial straits.
And Birch has reiterated, unless they soften their stance, liquidation could be the end result.
He said: ‘We are trying to come to an agreement with Aaron but that is stalling in terms of how much he is looking for to leave.
‘I read his agent in The News saying it wouldn’t be a problem.
‘Well, it’s not a problem if you pay in full for them to go away.
‘That’s what they mean when it’s not a problem.
‘Basically, they want substantially more than we are prepared to offer so it is stalemate at the moment.
‘The ball is in his court. We have put an offer to him and at the minute they are saying “no”.
‘If all of the players are going to take that view then this club is going to be liquidated, it’s as simple as that.
‘Both Portpin and the Trust have conditions that they won’t buy the club unless the wage bill is reduced.
‘So when will these players finally realise this is all we have got to play with at the minute?
‘Ben Haim and Kanu have not gone any further either. We are waiting for them.
‘It is very concerning, these demands will see the club ending up one way – and surely no-one wants that?’
Further developments over the direction of the club’s future were to become clear today with the latest CVA meeting.
Regardless of any outcome, Birch is aware the £9.5m has to be slashed to less than £5m to satisfy any potential owner.
And he admits there are effectively four weeks remaining to make such savings.
He added: ‘Mokoena has got a club right there but until he gets the deal he wants he won’t go.
‘He is effectively getting nothing in terms of wages in South Africa, so he is hoping to get a pay-out to supplement that.
‘There is nothing we can do to accelerate this, though.
‘We are racing against the clock here and it is very frustrating how everything is panning out.’