Pompey boys - John Utaka
The seventh signing of the summer came on the same day as they sixth when the 11th July saw both John Utaka and David Nugent unveiled at the same Pompey press conference. He cost an initial £6m, but various additions should eventually see this rise to a club record £8m.
Not a lot is really known about Utaka to me and I cannot say that I had personally seen him play, or at least remember seeing him play before he came to Pompey, but Harry Redknapp had been tracking him for the best part of a year.
The Nigerian international has already played in Egypt and Qatar but became more familiar to the European market when he first moved into the French game in 2002.
In three years with Lens he averaged a goal every 4 games, but since moving to Rennes, where he played alongside Arnold Mvuemba, his strike rate has improved to a little better than a goal every 3 matches.
Although he can play as an out and out attacker, he can also play just off a front man, as well as out wide - which appears to be his best position due to his blistering pace and ability on the ball.
There is absolutely no way that Redknapp would have risked his own reputation, let alone Pompey's by paying so much money if he was not sure of success - and in the limited time I have seen him in a Pompey shirt he looks full of promise.
He is certainly not short of confidence and his pace should cause problems for most defences in this league.
I would expect to see him used mostly as a wide attacker, which is where he excelled against Bournemouth in a pre season friendly before he was injured - and Redknapp has since said this is where he intends to use him most frequently too.
PLAY UP POMPEY!
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