Harry itching to spend

THE arrival of Franco/Russian multi-millionaire Alexandre Gaydamak has pushed Portsmouth onto a new level and Harry Redknapp can't wait to spend his new-found wealth.

By Derek Davis

THE arrival of Franco/Russian multi-millionaire Alexandre Gaydamak has pushed Portsmouth onto a new level and Harry Redknapp can't wait to spend his new-found wealth.

All of a sudden, £7m for Dean Ashton does not seem out of reach for a team languishing near the bottom of the Premiership and a deal with Norwich City could be done in the next couple of days.

Although City boss Nigel Worthington insisted Ashton was left out of the cup defeat by West Ham due to a groin strain, the inevitable speculation was that it was so he would not become cup-tied.


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Redknapp would not name names but admitted he was about to spend big in an effort to lift Pompey from their slump.

He said: “Ten points from 15 games shows that this squad is not strong enough, so we need to bring people in.”

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Gaydamak, who has pumped in almost £20m to become co-owner with Milan Mandaric, was in Berlin fulfilling a prior engagement, rather than at Portman Road to see his new venture ease into the fourth round of the cup.

Nevertheless, Redknapp was effusive in welcoming the businessman. He said: “It is every football club's dream to have someone who is genuinely rich and interested in football to walk through the door. It is great for Portsmouth FC, who have a wonderful opportunity to move up to a different level.

“Our stadium will get done, we will get training facilities, the squad will improve so it has to be great for the club.

“It means we can bring in players like Benjani Mwaruwari, which was a lot of money for us to spend.

“We have been haggling all week with a club over the £100,000 or so for three players but, at the same time, we will not pay over the odds for players.

“Normally we would be looking in the bargain basement for players but now we can set our sights higher.”

International clearance did not arrive in time for £4.1m club transfer record signing Mwaruwari and pay-as-you-play striker Emanuel Olisadebe to appear, so Uruguayan striker Dario Silva partnered Lomana Lua Lua up front and scored the winner.

Redknapp admitted his side had struggled at times against the Championship outfit.

He said: “It was a close game and you could see Ipswich nicking a goal towards the end, so it was a good win for us.

“They were better than us for long spells and passed the ball well but lacked that cutting edge up front.

“Our goal came from a great ball by Matty Taylor and it was a terrific header from Silva.”

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