Date: 11th January 2009 at 5:05pm
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Five New Faces – Can You Name Them?

The Club Statement by Sacha & Peter late last week went a long way to explain the going-ons within the club and in my opinion was an open and honest account of where our team ‘Portsmouth Football Club’ find themselves against a back drop of financial instability around the world.

The fact that we do not have to sell anymore key players is of course good news, but it does not mean we won’t if the price is right and/or the player in question does not feature in Tony’s short or indeed long term plans, but it is a statement of intent and one that I was pleased to hear.

The most intriguing part of the statement however mentioned the arrival of five new faces at Fratton Park in the coming weeks.

The statement read:

‘In addition we are currently working on the permanent acquisition of three players along with two loan deals to the end of the season, one from the UK and one from abroad.

‘These acquisitions will increase the size of the squad that Tony has by five players. We are confident that a couple will be concluded shortly, but that all five players will be here well before the transfer window closes.

So three permanent singings and two loan deals; one form the UK and one from abroad eh ! But who are they ? – It is not an easy puzzle to solve

Here is my take on who fits the bill in terms of cover we need, wages we will pay and a combination of permanent and loan deals that match the statement.

Challenge me if you like, but remember for every player you disagree with, you have to suggest an alternative !

Chix`s Five

Edu (Valencia) – Defensive Midfielder
The press have been all over this one but that said the Brazilian is an old team-mate of Tony’s and does occupy a position where we need strength so it is not that surprising.

Edu (30) has the kind of class and experience that we are after but has suffered a number of injury problems since leaving Arsenal for the Spanish side in 2005.

It is for this reason that I believe he will be a loan signing until the end of the season with maybe a view to a permanent contract if he can prove his fitness back in the Premiership.

Joey Barton (Newcastle United) – Combative Midfielder
This deal seems to be a bit of a no brainer with the only obstacle being the over-inflated (£6.5million) fee.Love him or hate him both Manchester City and Newcastle fans agree that Barton is a non stop battler.

If Tony can focus Joey on the job in hand, I believe Barton could be a great acquisition and in time, even become a fans favourite.

Gary O’Neil (Middlesbrough) – Central/Right Midfielder
Gary obviously needs no introduction and despite reports of a rejected fee I can’t really see Boro Chairman Steve Gibson standing in the way of a club with a cheque in their hand requesting the return (for a profit) of a player who, together with his young family, have failed to settle in their new surroundings and wish to return ‘home’.

Being stubborn is one thing, being too blind to see a gift horse looking you straight in the mouth is another and I believe Mr Gibson, as much as he wants to retain Gary will relent in the end.

Aruna Dindane (Lens) – Striker
Dindane (28) is a sharp and strong Ivorian striker in the Didier Drogba mould. His agent has made no secret that his client wants to ply his trade in the Premier League and together with Stoke and West Brom, Pompey have been heavily linked. The only downside to this move is that Dindane has not played since he damaged his knee last season. The price tag of around £5 million may be a bit steep too and a deal could be considered a bit of a gamble.

That said Dindane’s representatives have claimed that he has totally recovered from his cruciate injury, is looking impressive in training and will only need three or four games to be back at his best. Ideally he would be a great loan signing but up to date reports state that the Lens Club President and the player have agreed they both want a transfer and as a consequence won’t even listen to clubs requesting a loan. I think we will see Dindane arrive this week with the possibility of Djimi Traore moving in the opposite direction to soften (but only a little) the financial impact of the transfer fee.

Andy Driver (Hearts) – Winger
Driver is an Englishman (u21) playing for Hearts in Scotland and although on a contract until 2011, Hearts ‘alledgedly’are willing to listen as they need the money.

Everton as well as Pompey have been linked but I’ve a feeling (given that Hearts boss Csaba Laszlo has confirmed Pompey’s approach) that Tony and Peter will wrap up this one up quickly. Iniitlally on loan then a permanent deal (with a built in compensation payment) if things work out between now and the end of the season.

Those considered but not chosen

Benjani (Manchester City) – Striker
As much as I would love to see the Zimbabwean international back at Pompey I think this is more wishful thinking on our part and an easy story for the papers to speculate. Man City’s spending power does suggest that Benjy would be out of favour if they were to sign a big named striker but to date they haven’t and despite some big offers nobody seems to be playing ball.

Peter’s statement implies he knows which players are coming, I do not believe that we would be that far advanced without City having a replacement.

Manuel Fernandes (Valencia) – Creative Midfielder
Another player we know and one I rate (remember that goal at Mansfield !) The thing that makes this deal attractive is the suggested fee of only £6m – The amount Harry was prepared to offer when Fernandes was on loan a season or two back – But despite reports that Peter is in Spain ‘doing business’ this weekend I think this is just the papers putting two and two together and coming up with sixty-five.

Peter maybe in Spain – To sign Edu !

Yohann Pele (Le Mans) – Goalkeeper
Pele playing for Pompey ! – It could be truer than you’d think. The 26-year-old French No3 is out of contract with Le Mans at the end of the season and it doesn’t take a genius to work out that David James will not go on forever. Personally I’m not sure a keeper of the calibre of Pele is gonna to sit around waiting for James to retire (or move) though so I’m treating this as a bit of a dead duck

Luis Garcia (Athletico Madrid) – Winger
I thought long and hard about including Garcia in my five (as the forgien loan player) but ruled him out on the basis that he’d probably demand a bigger wage packet than Edu. That and the fact that the ex-Liverpool winger has been touted around every premiership club during the past month or so it would have very easy to sign him before now

Mirel Radoi (Steaua Bucharest) – Centre Back/Defensive Midfielder
Radoi has been strongly linked with us in the past (Summer 2006 from memory) and is currently looking for a move abroad, but again the fact that Standard Liege & Fiorentina are linked suggests that the Romanian international will cost significantly more that the £4.5million being suggested in some quarters. Having said that, his ability to play ably in both midfield and centre back could prove to be the clincher. Radoi would be my wildcat reserve !

So there you have it, my thoughts on who the five will be together with those I considered and decided against.

What do you think ? – Do you agree with me or am I way off the mark ?

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