'Shocked' Benjani did not want to move

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Benjani had been in fine form for Pompey in the first half of the season but was sold to City on transfer deadline day in order to fund a move for Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe.

The transfer almost did not happen because Benjani was reported to have arrived at City too late, but it was later sanctioned by Premier League officials who agreed all the necessary paperwork had been completed in time.

Benjani claims he had settled at the south coast club and, having scored 12 goals in the league campaign, was loath to move.

“It was never my choice to leave Pompey because of the special relationship that I had with the supporters, with my team-mates and with the coach,” he told Zimbabwean newspaper The Herald.

“I was very happy at Pompey and I think this season I showed that I had settled down well and I was beginning to produce the goals for the club.

“There are some things in football that are more important than money and one of those things is a special relationship a player can enjoy with the supporters and the coach.

“I had all that at Portsmouth and I was really enjoying myself playing football in a very good environment and knowing that everyone was happy with what I was doing for the club.

“I asked for the reason why I was being sold and they told me that it was a good business deal since Manchester City were paying a lot of money - especially considering my age - and they could also get younger players in return.”

Benjani conceded that protracted talks for an improved contract between him and the Pompey management might have strained his relationship with the club.

“We had agreed new terms with the management on the improved contract but they said that they could only bring it into effect at the beginning of next season,” he said.

“I told them that if that was the case then I would not sign the contract until the beginning of the new season and I believe that is when things took a new twist.”