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Aaargh why is it so difficult!

It seems so easy from our point of view, we pick out a player, hear what the asking price is and think 'yep, I'll have some of that, but maybe we should knock it down a touch', or 'nope, I would not touch him with yours for that amount'.

But what do we know we are only fans - our money only goes towards helping us buy players and pay them!

When Harry Redknapp signed Djimi Traore in January I was not best pleased and expressed these views with an article. I ranted and raved about him not being a good enough signing and why had Redknapp signed him. I later calmed a little and retracted some, with my thinking if he was that bad he would not have played as many times for Liverpool as he had, also saying who are we to question Redknapp after all he has done here.

After seeing Traore I am still not that sure on his abilities as a footballer, but he is a decent enough squad player but I do think it is possibly time to question Redknapp a little more - don't get me wrong I love the fella but sometimes, just sometimes you need to try things a little differently.

Sometimes you have to throw caution to the wind, Redknapp likes a gamble so why is he so reluctant to take one with us and go out and get a goalscoring striker - he does not have to abandon his policies but why not have a little flutter?

He has explained why he thinks he can ill afford it, but the alternatives are not looking that much more promising really - if at all.

The tried and trusted route can only work for so long, sometimes you have to try something new and trying Marlon Harewood or maybe even John Utaka - not that I know too much about this fella really - is not something new, Harewood is someone Redknapp knows from seeing around the game for years, Utaka is a previous target who is resurfacing as others disappear - so someone he has watched for a while but decided not to go for before, so why now? Answer, because he is known to him.

Pretty much every striker we have been 'seriously linked' with is from this same mould, Jermaine Defoe - known to him personally from his time at West Ham same went for Fredi Kanoute. United outcast Alan Smith - known to him from his time in the English game, Mark Viduka, Robbie Fowler and so on and so on all the same, even Yakubu - known to him from his time here.

Those not so well known to him - that you can argue are the better options - the likes of Roberto Colautti, Luis Fabiano, Giampaolo Pazzini not so well known but surely worth a gamble?

Would they be much more of one than Harewood or Utaka - would they even cost much more? Could we even get Colautti plus one of the other two for a few million more than it would cost for Harewood!

The players actually have to want to sign also, but why would players not want to sign? Lets have a go and see where it gets us before they are written off.

We splashed out £7million to sign Sulley Muntari, a household name in Italy and to a lot of European, certainly African nations but even several of my friends do not even know who he is! Again though he is a player Redknapp tracked for a year, so was known to him. He will be a great player for Pompey, but unless we pay something similar we will not get a quality striker it is that simple.

We cannot be held to ransom but for the penny pinching - or should I say million pinching - lets not keep missing out on people and lets go for strikers that will score us goals, even if this means taking a calculated risk - they do not always have to be known to you to be good.

You cannot have it both ways can you - you cannot expect to pick up a goalscoring striker if you will not pay the price, if you will not pay the price you have to take the 'gamble' route - which my thinking includes going for a player that is well known to you for a serious amount of money that is known for not scoring that many goals!

Come on Redknapp splash the cash, lay a bid somewhere in the region of £6-10million and get this 20 goal a season striker we all want.

Leroy Lita has been mentioned a few times - ideal candidate, young, hungry and can score goals, £6-8million would get him do you not think? The names are there - if we pay the price.

Does anyone else feel like we have been in this predicament before?


Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer: pompeyrug Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday June 28 2007

Time: 9:39AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Before I say anything else, I want it to be clearly understood that I am a very staunch Harry Redknapp supporter and was the most pleased out of all supporters when he came back from his mad moment in St. Faries Home for the Frail and Insane.

Now, in contrast to that, I personally feel that the problem with us not signing a high profile, high standard and recognised goalscorer is not actually because it would cost at least 7million, but because it will mean Harry would have to sign someone for 7million. By that I mean that Harry has become rather gutless and is scared of signing anyone who will cost that in case it doesn't work.

At the moment, any of the players that Harry has signed will be punching a little above their weight, with exception to one or two such as Sol or Jamo. Harry has not got the bottle to sign anyone who is worth that sort of money because it will put more pressure on him for the side to do better. In addition, with players of far less ability and commanding a far lower transfer fee, Harry can say at the end of the season that "Pompey are only a small club, how can anyone expect too much from them?", thus relieving himself from any responsibilities should the side not perform as we would expect it to.

If Harry has not got the strength of character to be bold enough to sign a highly regarded and much needed, no scrap that - desperately needed - goalscorer then perhaps he has taken this club as far as his ability allows? He has pulled of some wondrous signings in the past, but how many of them have been young players who are going to stay for a while, rather than those in the twilight of their career?

Harry loves a flutter, allegedly, so now is the time to take the biggest gamble of all and spend some quality money on a quality goalscorer for a quality price.
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28/06/2007 10:24:00

Harry has indeed got it wrong this time. He's saying that he can't afford to gamble because we need a proven striker right now (which is right), but then he won't pay 7m for Nugent, or 12m for the Yak saying it's too much. He can't have it both ways - the very fact that a striker is proven means he will cost a lot - you want proven you gotta pay for it, simple. I do think he will get a couple in though eventually, and don't forget there are 9 weeks of shopping left.
Report Abuse
28/06/2007 10:26:00

with Pompey its not about how good the player is and how much he costs, its who his agent is, if you know what I mean?
The Rabbi
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28/06/2007 10:32:00

Every purchase is a gamble & the risks are higher when its really big dosh. However risking going down 'cause we ain't got a goal scorer is a huge gamble. Even if the striker fails, his value ain't going to collapse not if WH rate Harwood at 5m.
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28/06/2007 10:49:00

it is really starting to do my head in now splash the cash, take a risk and we'll all be laughing this time next year! yep, agreed it is time to stop this 'we are a little club' talk isn't it fellas. we are compared to others but we will remain that way unless a pair is grown and we fork out big money - we did it with muntari, do it with others... we will be lucky to even match what we did last season if we dont break the bank to sign a striker or 2... it might not pay off - you have to be practical - but why think that way, positive thinking can go a long way too... good luck to harewood but with leon best heading out of scum i would rather 'arry went back to scumhampton again to pick him up for a tenth of the price he would pay for harewood - afterall he would get the same results from him...
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28/06/2007 11:09:00

If we leave it til the end of the transfer window, it will give harold another 'get out' if the signings go wrong - "Well, you know, he works hard, does a job of work for us but he needed a full pre-season, the boy's not fit", etc, etc. blah, blah, blah. I'm desperate for this all to be Harry Spin but my heart tells me it's not and that it really will be 'kin Harewood and a re-call for Cole or some other aging, overpaid ex footballer.
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28/06/2007 11:16:00

Good article, PR and an excellent psychological profiling of HR - and one I agree with entirely. And I would add this; that 7+ million for a midfielder can be justified in many obvious and subtle ways EVEN if he looks crap. A striker though is a different proposition. If he don't score, he's no good. Look at all the weekly guff we've had from Hal with Benjy. An excellent player but no striker and so we get the usual stuff from Harry like, "Runs his socks off", and "know what you are going to get from him", blah, blah. So thats why Harry can't get past the hangup of maybe being wrong and so wrong he can't talk his way out of it. Dr Et_tu_Pompeii is in.
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28/06/2007 11:28:00

Sorry, missed out: and an excellent psychological profiling of HR, True Pompey Blue . . .
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28/06/2007 11:30:00

excellent article...do you think 'arry wil read it? lets hope he does, and gets the hint. W have a choice at the moment: Dont sign a decent striker, and not do that well, or take a gamble, and have the chance of doing better. Its clear that Harry wants to go for the former. AND, we have to stop this talk of little club. we have just put forward plans for one of the most ambitious stadiums in the country - not somthing a little club would do.
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28/06/2007 14:00:00

oh, and i just read an article off trible football that made me laugh...the first line "Manchester City are moving for Portsmouth striker Yakubu Aiyegbeni." - is there somthing we dont know yet? ounds good :)
Report Abuse
28/06/2007 14:01:00

and finnaly... totenham look like theyr going to sign Darren bent. That puts Defoe at Number 4, and i dont think he will like that! - or he could be pompeys number 1 striker...oooh, the decisions...
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28/06/2007 14:06:00

carefull Rabbi you are starting to sound like me. even i am starting to think Defoe is a possibility but no need to rush, but then i remember we will need a settled team for this "prestigous" asian tournament we are going to, but then again i remember that there are still two months left to buy. but then again i remeber last time we ran out of people. but then again AAAAARRRGGGGHHHHH
Report Abuse
28/06/2007 18:29:00

it now seems that Yak is off to MC
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28/06/2007 18:30:00

Certainly seems so Russell, hence my comment about Harry being gutless. 10million, not too much really if Harewood is 5million. [Edited by TruePompeyBlue]
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28/06/2007 18:52:00

yep agreed TPB, I also think he cant get out opf the mind set of struggle. For me there is always a balance we have to know and accept about the man. The other thing it made me wonder is will we ever get a worth while academy given harry's attitude to young players.? My Hammers fan mate reckons it was Billy Bonds and Lampard senior who discovered and produced the talent at West Ham, i asked a media mate to check on Harrry quotes and it seems to be true. To be fair to Harry he has never claimed he discovered anybody, it is always "when i had (this player or that player) at west ham" etc etc.. Now Grant is probably going i worry that the chances of a worthwhile youth academy are less then ever.
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28/06/2007 19:04:00

hey it's in bold, how did that happen
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28/06/2007 19:05:00

Hang on, I'll sort it Russell...

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28/06/2007 20:20:00

NO, NO I disagree with this article and many of the comments are simply tosh. It seems that people think we are going to behave like Chelsea or West Ham in the transer market and are getting ahead of themselves. So it seems that the feeling here is that 'arry's fear of failure, lack of gamble and other deep seated psychological demons are the reason that Pompey haven't already signed a 10m proven striker. It also seems that people already think that we are a huge club. Certainly our ambition is huge and we're moving in the right direction and we are seeking to improve on an impressive last season. We're not entitled to be first choice when other teams like West Ham and Newcastle come in for players. Do you think if we had Mourinho just for the close season to recommend our signings for us that it would convince Sacha and Storrie to spend over the odds for a certain player? Every player is 'unkown' to a manager until he first hears of that player and 'arry hears about a great many players courtesy of having the largest contact book of scouts and agents amongst anybody. If you gamble badly you get Collins Mbesuma, or at best Benjani. Choosing the right striker for the right money is not a simple job. Regarding the comments about the Academy and 'arry's psycological problems ruining it - haha laughable. Do you think Ferguson spends 5 days a week at schools and parks inviting young players? Or that he coaches the 12 yr olds in the academy and arranges their development and schooling? Lol. So let's not gambe recklesly, let's not spend millions of Sacha's money (how ever much that is or is not) on overhyped prices, let's not panic as we know a lot of what HR actually says is a smokescreen and we have 2 months left, and let's not knock HR for being realistic and have faith that the long terms plans of considered continous development will preside over thinking with our hearts and jumping to conclusions.
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28/06/2007 20:41:00

"Those not so well known to him - that you can argue are the better options - the likes of Roberto Colautti, Luis Fabiano, Giampaolo Pazzini not so well known but surely worth a gamble?" Please explain why? Because thse players are not English and HR hasn't watched them play for year? Better sign them quick then. I expect that my above post due not being rectionary and wildly optimistic will have enraged and 'disgusted' many readers, so please let me know. I look forward to it.
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28/06/2007 20:50:00

Your posted opinions have certainly not "enraged and disgusted" me Liquor&Poker - I may not agree with all that you have said but you put up some very good points and well argued, your views are very much respected, as are everyones opinions.

I do not feel we are a huge club but I do get sick and tired of hearing we are a small club from our manager. I agree that he cannot go shouting about how big we are but he oculd shut up keep saying how small we are. We've got morons like Gary Lineaker, Andy Townsend, Matt Le Tosser and a great deal of the daily papers to do that without one of our own doing it as well.
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28/06/2007 21:00:00

Thanks TPB. Agreed that HR, while he does well to keep a handle on reaity, does labour the point a little bit! Will be interesting to see how he responds to the fact we have just had a decent season and cannot fall back on the "I rescued the club from certain relegation" type line. We have already seen him say that with clubs like Wham spending and with the clubs coming p not being as weak as Watford and Charlton that we "have to improve just to stand still". I'll be delighted if we can improve on a season that saw us come one goal away from Europe... so let's see how his language changes. He's 100% right though that we can't compete with many clubs in terms of luring many of the greedier, glory seeking players. Also, the media muppets especially Townsend and especially Le Toss, need to face facts and give some credit but I doubt that. I just hope that 'arry is a bit more positive when talking to th players - but I expect he is!
Report Abuse
28/06/2007 21:40:00

Everyone is saying Harry won't splash the cash, but how do we know its not getting vetoed from above? He may have been given 20m including wages to spend, when people earn 2m a year it gets eaten up pretty quickly
Report Abuse
28/06/2007 22:07:00

basically Liquor&Poker this is my opinion, you have yours - it does not do anything to me if you dont agree, i just see you as not agreeing, thats all it means to me mate - i take no offense and dont look to cause any... i dont write something looking for everyone to agree with it, i just write it because it is what i want to write and what i believe... i do not feel we have a devine right to anything nor do i think we are chelski, just feel there comes a time when you have to bite the bullet and have a go... the colautti, fabiano and pazzini comments are again just my opinion. i feel they would be no less of a gamble than going for harewood or utaka as what could these fellas offer us that the other 3 couldn't? my thinking is the only reason 'arry would rather harewood and/or utaka is for the reason 'they are known to him'. would they cost anymore than the harewood or utaka? i feel no. would they make any less of an impact than harewood and/or utaka? tbh i feel they would make more of an impact...
Report Abuse
28/06/2007 23:50:00

L & P, thoughtful article, but lets go back 12 months and consider the options then. Three strikers: Martins, McCarthy and Anelka. Lets assume that they wanted to come to Portsmouth, which is fair as everything we heard initially said that, then what stopped them? I honestly think that had Pompey bid a competitive amount for these players and offered them competitive terms, we would be having none of these conversations because we would have two of the most sought after strikers in the Premiership. But we didn't. And we don't. That's not being prudent and sensible. We had them there. And Bu**ered it up. Imagine last season with . . .(perm any two from three) in attack!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I know this is speculation but it's hard to discount it entirely.
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29/06/2007 08:02:00

L&P, Backing up Et_Tu_pompeii here, I went to a work sponsered event the other evening where there was a couple of footie speakers one of which was Big Sam A who is as good as and most agree probably a better "wheeler dealer" than Harry (in that he has a lot less failures) anyway, BIG Sam says and i quote, " You have to get in early in the market or the price goes up" if you havent tied it up before it hits the papers you probably cant afford it" un quote. He then used Martins as a case in point. Im sorry L&P as i have bored everybody before i will bore you now. It is part of my occupation to study these things and i can confirm to you that for most every comodity and make no mistake that is what players are to clubs, THERE IS A MARKET RATE AND THE LONGER YOU TAKE TO CLOSE A DEAL THE MORE COSTLY IT BECOMES. When people say " well i waited to the end of the market and got it cheap, there is a reason, its because the market didnt bloody want it. this is true procurement (my thing) of players , comodities or whatever. Competition for comodities like players drives up prices, thats why clubs develope youth policies, to find that star but mostly to become sellers not buyers.
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29/06/2007 19:48:00


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